To make winter go away… my soul needs some sunshine and spice. The rays of sun are getting brighter but it is still very cold and the icy northern wind is blowing down my street. I walked the dog and left my gloves indoors and my fingers almost fell off!
The right time to bake an apple cake is now. This recipe is for a fluffy apple cake.
I used 170g butter, 140g flour, 2 eggs, 170g flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda. Whisk the butter and sugar together and then add the eggs. In go the flour and baking soda. Spread in a smallish baking tin and decorate with apples and sprinkle top of cake with cinnamon and sugar….. delicious!
For a different take I added some almond flakes and dark chocolate with the cinnamon sugar.
I had my sister over for coffee and a chat. That was fun and my little boy had a glass of milk and watched tv after playschool.
December 2017 I moved with my two kids to a small town outside Reykjavík. The house was very run down. Since then I have renovated the house a lot and resculpted the big garden. Looking back on the year since I got the keys to my house so much has happened and all the little moments and happenings make life so much richer, but hasn´t been easy either. I´m going to tell you about my neighbours hens and one hen in particular.
Three hens arrived at my neighbours in spring, a lovely hippie couple in their sixties. The hens were the typical Icelandic ones from the time of settlement. They went about their business pecking in the next gardens and just minding their own business. They were calm and just what you expect of regular hens, well except I didn’t know hens slept high up in the branches of trees at night. So looking at them high up in our fir-tree in early evenings was so nice. One day one of the hens died. And some days later a new hen arrived. She was different in body and soul. Her legs were high and her body slim and all her behaviour too. The owners said she was Italian. She didn’t really mix very well with the other two. She went on trips around the next gardens, clucking and doodelidooing all day long. The hen layed her eggs all over the place, often on a shelf on our patio, under the lawn mower and we found a secret nest in the next garden with 16 eggs!
I don’t know if she also layed her eggs in her home garden too. She liked her comforts and changed the other hens pattern as well.
They used to sleep away from our porch but in the rain and wind that late summer brought they slept up close to my front door and back door in the shelter. The Italian prima donna I have caught a few times sleeping in my sons stroller.During the day I some times keep the front door open and for months the hens have just been happy outdoors. In the late summer the Italian hen ventured over the threshold a few times untill one day she just arrived into our living room. Then jumped onto one of our diningroom chairs and from there into our window. I got out a broom and tried to sweep her out and my little boy yelled and our dog barked…. what a mad house! The hen didn’t budge. I was about to bring out a big basin that I was going to put over her and my daughter had gone to get the owners. In some time the hen jumped down and walked out with all of us behind! What a morning!
Late last autumn when the frost started the hens started tearing up all the nice gravel I had put around my house. Digging holes looking for some thing to eat and sleep in. Also they slept in my neighbours flower boxes and prams of the kids she took care of. So there was no other way but ask the owners to fence the hens in. They did and have kept them in a hut with an outdoor area all winter. Just this week I noticed the hens in my garden plucking away and sleeping in my fir-tree.
As happy as I was seeing the hens I’m not willing to have them living in my garden and turning it into theirs. I will have to speak to the owners again and ask them what they have in mind. Free range hens are so nice at farms but in a rural street not so….
Living a short way from the capital Reykjavík, I get a lot of visitors. I enjoy that a lot, but I need to be spontaneous at times to come up with cakes to go with coffee. Yesterday I had both of my daughters grandmothers coming over. Normally waffles or pancakes are a quick solution but I wanted something cozy as it has been raining almost constantly since spring.
Pecan pie with a twist is what I´ll make as I had a bowl full of pears on the counter. So starting off with the pastry I just used white flour, 75g butter and 75g coconut oil, blended well and added 2 tbsp water. It made a very light pastry. I didn’t have time to cool the dough so I used the rolling-pin to semi flatten the dough then put it in a pie dish and used my hands to thin out the dough. The next step I enjoyed especially. I layed baking paper on top of the paistry and on top of that my pebble collection that I have picked up on the south coast of Iceland. I just love finding nice and soft pebbles, but I never really had any use for the when I got home. Untill one day I needed some thing heavy to weigh down my pastry….. my beautiful pebbles. Love them!
Bake with pebbles on for 10 min, take them off and bake ten more minutes. Take from oven and make sections of pear slices and pecan nuts on top of the pastry, Pour on top of the nuts and pears a mix of melted butter, soft brown sugar and syrup and added 3 eggs into the warm sugar mix and a little vanilla. Carefully place the pie dish in the oven for just over 30 mins or untill the kitchen is smelling like caramel. Let the pie cool for at least 10 minutes and serve with ice cream.
The grandmothers were very pleased with this cozy pie with a surprising fruity taste. It made the rich pecan effect a lot lighter and reminded us that it was still summer and hope for sunny days. Good espresso and pie for such strong but sweet ladies and all their good intentions.
Ahh.. all these obstacles in my house renovation… Some days you hope that you are thrown a life buoy. All projects on a roll and finances secure. So far I have managed rolling the ball. Just under a year now I bought this property. I’ve had the roof changed and a new ceiling. All floors pulled off, walls smoothed down and painted plus ceilings and floor. Electricity renewed, half the windows replaced and new windowsills fixed. Kitchen torn out and a wall broken down and then installed a new kitchen. This summer I have had a new drainage system dug in the ground against the garage and house. Then that part of the garden reshaped. Now I’m waiting for turf to put on the ground. I’m going to try for a japan inspired look. Already started the flowerbeds that were all wild. Them I covered with sand and then laid natural flat stones over and planted a few rockery plants and a japanese maple. It looks good and I hope for minimal maintainance.
So many trees have been taken down that were old and unhealthy. As well as all this my house has been covered with corrugated iron as the outer stone was getting cracked. Meanwhile all the normal mum-life goes on I’m trying to design and put up tiles in the guest toilet. Busy life with two kids, cat and dog, visitors and all.
This has been a fun and transforming process. I probably haven’t mentioned all the projects done or that are left. I am a little surprised at how much has been going on in less than a year! So maybe this house is actually my life buoy! Keeping me active. Hope you have good projects going on out there.. more later!
This is to all the teachers out there that can see the holidays approaching and are just hanging in there for the last weeks. Indulge yourselves with this mega choco bomb. We did at my school.. sweet.
So a good french chocolate cake, I used this recipe; 2dl sugar, 200g butter, 200g chocolate (as dark as you like), 1dl flour & 4 eggs.
You whisk eggs and sugar. Add flour, then at last add the melted butter and chocolate mix. Bake for about 30 minutes at 170´C.
For the chocolate spread you melt together in a pot; 150g chocolate, 70g butter and 2-3 tbsp syrup. Pour over the cake and decorate as you like. This will hopefully tide you over a few days. You can do it!
Hey it arrived! The sun is shining and it is 12 degrees! I´m baking some muffins to take out onto the balcony! I can explain the joy and sunshine in my heart! Iiihaaaa!
So easy does it, vanilla and peach muffins with peach and lemon icing. Any easy muffin base will do, mix in some vanilla pods or vanilla sugar, cut peaches in small cubes and blend in. Bake till a nice colour and make the icing with very fresh lemon juice and some peach juice… sweet spring I like you.
Woke up to a minor snow blizzard this morning. Yes really! I had taken my flowers in for the night as it felt chilly last night, just as well.
So getting some visitors over later and it just isn’t right to have some summery drink. I will have some nice brie og any type of white creamy cheese. I found a thick piece called Gull Ostur here in Iceland. So on top of one I put a mound of mango chutney and on the other I have some chilly jelly. Put this in the oven till all is sizzling and serve with bread and biscuits. The lovely melted cheese oozing out… delicious.
At long last we are eyeing the spring. Such long and cold days with a mix of hail and rain for February. The garden is coming alive, grass getting greener every day and the leaves showing themselves. Last night I even potted tree potatoes so that I will have a small crop for fun and put down some summer bulbs.
I can start my summer jobs of painting the house around the front door, potting some more flowers and fixing the wood work on the steps. I will get a guy to come in and cover the stone with corrugated iron on the south side of the house as the stone has started leaking. Also I will have new windowsills put in and the little guest bathroom fixed. I should do some before and after pix. So lots of indoor and outdoor pleasure.
Hey this super gift arrived at my doorstep on Sunday morning. My neighbour from the greenhouse across the road dropped in with a housewarming gift. I was so happy and loved the mixture of plants and the knowledge that he had grown them him self. I started thinking of gifts and how the meaning has changed in my mind since I was younger when I loved sparkly luxury gifts…
Today I am pleased with the efforts and thoughts people give me. Like my mum helps me a lot and has especially been helping me with my new home in big and small. I love when my friends come and visit me as I live a little out of their way, we can chat, eat, drink and be merry. So happy for the time I spend with my children. So happy for the projects I set for my self, my health and free time.Ummm free time, lounge or keep busy on various jobs, painting door frames, emptying boxes, putting up my kitchen…. lovely.
Maby gifts are an appreciation for life on both parts. What do you think?
While pondering on what to do with some apples I have, I also think of an online shop I want to start. This blog I found difficult to start. But am getting more comfortable with it now. Still I find it difficult to visualize the look and feeling that I want to transmit. I am hoping that it will gradually develop. So I guess the same goes for the shop.
Meanwhile I have chopped up two apples, put them in a Pyrex bowl, add some raisins and sprinkle with a lot of cinnamon and some sugar. In another bowl i mix together flour oatmeal, one tsp sugar and butter. Sprinkle over the apple and put in oven for 30 min or till the apples are soft.
Since I moved into my new house in December I have loved baking in my new oven and kitchen. My kitchen is only half done but I can foresee it being finished in February. It is all white with an oak table top and quite high for working on. Well off for more business planning with the delicious cinnamon apple mix and ice cream.
Brrr its freezing out! Beautiful thin layer of snow, a full moon and frost. Indoors is even a little cold. I am so thankful for our geothermal heating, but even so it gets a little cooler indoors and it is just nice to put on a pair of wool socks and make a warm cup of hot chocolate. This can hopefully also warm up the feeling of cold fingers squeezing my heart. My boyfriend makes me feel that he doesn’t care for me or his little boy. Just wants easy good times. It is at times hard to embrace your self and enjoy the little moments when the time of cutting the strings hasn’t yet arrived.
So head for a pot and melt dark chocolate and milk together, pour into a nice big cup when hot enough. Top with cream and some marshmallows that I was so lucky to find left from an Xmas prezzy. Sooo delicious. Cold fingers can’t turn off a boiling heart!
Wow after a wild night of bonfires and fireworks, lots of dinner and sweetmeats you wake up to a squeaky new feeling of the New Year. The days have started getting longer up here in the north and the light is clear. What to have for late lunch…. well we had lobster as a starter last night and we have some left. Yes make some lobster soup!
I fry the left over lobster shells then cook them in a pot for an hour or so. To get all the flavor I pour some broth into the frying pan and pour back into the pot. Then I melt butter on the pan and stir in flour till well mixed.
Quickly I stir in some of the lobster broth that I have sived so that I got all the shell bits well away. So from the frying pan I pour back into the pot, mix in some tomato puree, salt, pepper, white wine, cream and cook at a low heat. When you feel the soup has cooked enough and it is to your taste drop the left over cooked or uncooked lobster tails in and serve. Any bread will do, make toast or garlic bread, mmmmm…. so good.
Such few days till the holidays and so much to do! Had a nice moment with my sister at her home were we had Danish marzipan cakes. My sister has a nack of low effort coziness. She bought the Danish Odense marzipan dough and baked it till golden and dipped the cakes in chocolate and sukkat. Very old style, sticky and sweet. Delicious! Presented on one of her own pottered stands. Totally beautiful for the eye, conversation for the ear and tasty for the soul.
The wonderful smell of oriental spices make the special nordic peppercakes. Kids go “iiiihhhh, can we bake!” So on go the aprons spices, flour and syrup in the bowl. Soon we are rolling out the dough and cutting out cakes with different shapes. The memories that come with different shapes, some very old cutters that have been with the family for ages and then some newer ones that were given last Christmas. Cakes in the oven and the sweet smell fills the kitchen. After the cakes have cooled it is nice to decorate some with icing sugar. But it is best to eat them slightly cooled with some milk… lovely advent.
At last, at last my home is finally coming together and I can move in the next coming days. Such a strange feeling to be at this place after months of hard work, endless setbacks and some breakthroughs. And when finally here I wonder if this is what I really wanted, ha ha … well I´ll find out. Just really feeling exhausted after all this time. I have used all my free time on this project. And have started missing my friends, social life and even going shopping. Unfortunately all my money has gone with this project so shopping won´t be on the list of things to do. My new fashion style is paint splattered and dusty. But I am exited to spend the fist night at our new place.
This week me and my daughter decided to try to fix the old Christmas lights that came with the house. We did our best and had fun in the freezing frost and darkness. That was our little happy moment that made our week.
Last week I came back from a holiday in Spain. One week in the sunshine and heat, away from the routine and worries. It is obvious to me that love and good feelings is all that matters. No need for belongings on holiday and already I had gotten used to living out of a suitcase with my worldly possessions in a garage waiting for a new home. I am not missing a thing! Not one object! I would miss my little boy, his soft cuddles. I miss my daughter that has moved to her dads place since we cleared out our flat in town. We have very little contact and are finding it hard to find time to meet. I am feeling the vastness of time and space all around me. And how very small a person is in the universe. I empathise with the immigrants. What is our purpose? Are we all small cells that combine to make a bigger whole for a purpose that is so big that we can’t understand it? So I am clinging to good feelings.
I have formally started the joyful walk on my secret path. Enjoying all that has happened so far.
This summer I bought a house in a small town just off Reykjavík. I have been feeling restless for some years now. I quit my job as an art teacher to move to Germany, there I found out that I was expecting a baby. I moved back home got a new job and tended Yoga classes that really made a stable platform in my mind. I had a little boy just over a year ago who has brought so much joy. Fifteen years before I had a girl who has turned into a very beautiful young lady, independent and talented. So I have a little family that makes me happy.
I would like to make a career of my own that can fulfill our needs. The first step is to move house on the fifteenth of September. But the house has been gutted in the last weeks and I am having a little problem finding builders to replace the roof and windows. I will tackle that and hopefully we can start rebuilding and making nice memories in our home.
It would be so nice if you would follow my posts and my gradual progress towards my goals. Maby our secret paths will cross one day.