Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finnish baking and other goodies

This past weekend we went to a Finnish/English Lutheran church to get some goodies at their annual Christmas bazaar. We used to have a Finnish deli but this time last year it burned down and they have not replaced it. Sad really, since it served customers from other parts of southern Ontario. There, you could order your smoked ham or turkey for Christmas dinner and loaves of pulla or black bread. They had smoked fish and head cheese and sugar-coated, jelly-filled doughnuts (munkkeja), cheese buns, along with meat-filled dough pastries. A lot of the other stuff was Finnish imports of mustard, hard, crisp bread, jams, chocolates, candies and on and on...

This is pulla. I bought two of these. It's traditional Finnish coffee bread with cardamom. You can eat it sliced with butter (my husband eats it this way), toasted, or dunked (my favourite way of eating it). It can also be used once it has dried or become stale. It's called korppu then. We just slice it to about 1/2 inch and cut the slices in half so they look like fat fingers. Place them on a cookie sheet and in a low oven until golden. You can flip them over to get an overall colour - or just leave them. The other way of doing it is to slice the pulla into 1/2" thick slices, smear one side with butter and drizzle some sugar (coarse, if you have any) and cinnamon on them before putting them on a cookie sheet and into the oven. I have eaten these kinds but not made them - neither has my mom. You can then dunk korppu in coffee (the Finns' national drink of choice.) One final way of eating korppu is to take some of the kind with cinnamon sugar on it, place it in a bowl (soup bowl) and pour hot milk on top. My dad used to make this and I miss having it. In Finnish it's korppumaittoo or korppu-milk. I don't think it's a traditional Finnish thing - it may just be a made up Canadian-Finnish thing. Perhaps my Finnish readers can tell me.

Note: Satu just let me know that she serves 'old pulla' by dipping both sides of the slices in milk and frying them on the hot pan. When they are golden, she serves them with strawberry jam and whipped cream. She also likes to dip buttered pulla slices in a HOT milkcoffee.

Ulla makes "pullaputinkia" pulla pudding by putting old slices of pulla, eggs, milk and raisins or jam baked in the oven.

These are S-cookies. They are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I had to buy them since the little girl is coming home from England on the 16th. She likes these and I bought two dozen - put one in the freezer for her and am slowly eating the other dozen.

I wasn't going to buy any of these but my husband just added them to the pile. This is just one but there were 6 in the bag. It's what we call black bread (musta leipä). It's a dark "sour" rye bread. Usually the bread is bigger but these ladies made them into smaller, individual sizes.

This is one of the best ways to eat the bread. I lathered butter on it (I covered it up so I didn't get flack from the healthy ones in the family) and then sliced some old cheddar cheese on it. That's my lunch today with a big glass of milk. Yesterday's lunch was...

two of these. They are Karelian piirakkaa or, as I describe them to my English-speaking friends, rice boats. The dough is made from rye flour again and the middle is just rice cooked in milk. The traditional way of eating them is warmed up and with egg butter which, I do believe, is hard-boiled egg mixed with butter. We grew up eating them fried (in margarine) and then we put on more butter and salt. I know it's totally cholesterol filled but who cares, they are not eaten every day. I bought lots of these. They came two in a zip lock baggie and I got seven since I had to give some to my son and his wife and then put some in the freezer for those that are coming home for Christmas. There is another Finnish church in Toronto and I am hoping that their Christmas bazaar is soon so I can get more. I did manage to pick up a hunk of white linen for the unbelievable price of $4.00. May Britt and Hanne have a giveaway for a pattern for an embroidery that goes on a baking cloth. That's the reason for the linen purchase. I will be making a baking cloth to cover my baking when it is rising.
I have not yet started baking for Christmas and I am hoping to make some pulla. My eldest daughter has perfected the bread machine variety and I know that she will probably be making some when she gets here. There are cookies and maybe a sour cream coffee cake to be made when the little one comes home. It is her specialty. She has made so many that she does not need to look at the recipe. I love to do any kind of baking. Cookies are really a favourite, though. I didn't grow up with cookies in the home so I think that may be the reason.

And, not baking related but it is a goody. I recently won a wonderful giveaway from Lara. I was one of three winners and had my choice of one of her gorgeous prints. I had help since I couldn't make up my mind on which one since they were all so great. The girls and I all chose this cow print in the end.

Isn't she a sweetie? This print reminds me so much of my trip out west to visit my daughter. 
Go visit Lara and she has an etsy shop too - here.

Tomorrow is the big reveal for Mrs. Moen's Napkin Challenge. So, come on back.

Friday, November 26, 2010

How to quilt the old fashioned way Part 2

Sorry it's taken so long to get to the end of my little demo.

 So, here's the quilt and this is as far as I could reach comfortably to quilt. As you can see, I have decided to just echo quilt the nine patch in the lower right corner. Now, I have to start rolling.

Before I can roll the quilt, I have to take out the pins along the side. The ones on the end (that hold the quilt to the board) stay put.

Both sets of pins have to come out but only as far as you are going to roll. By both sets I mean the pins holding the backing and the pins holding the top - and also from both sides.

All pins have been taken out.

Now the C-clamps have to come off the side you are about to roll.

When you are working on a bigger, full-sized quilt, it helps to have an extra pair of hands. This was not difficult because it really was a small quilt.

Now start to roll the board under - keeping the tension as even as you can.

Keep rolling.

This is as far as I can roll.

Put the C-clamps back on and keep on quilting. Normally, I would work from both ends and would therefore, roll the quilt from both ends toward the middle.

I didn't use any templates or rulers for the lines. I just eyeballed them. I didn't take any stitches out if they were too big, I just carried on.

And here it is all completed. Gee's Bend Revisited has been renamed Freedom. There was total freedom in putting all the pieces together and total freedom in the quilting. Once I took it off the frame, I couldn't believe the amount of quilting that was in it. Kind of overkill I thought.

And now on to the Champagne Quilters.

This is half of one of the plain blocks quilted. I wanted to wait to show you all the whole block quilted but since this is as far as Marg could reach to quilt and it now has to be turned. Therefore, the whole block will not be shown fully quilted - yet.

This is the little filler pattern that will be going into those odd spots that just need some quilting.

Here's the whole of one side totally channel quilted. Next week the other side should be finished. We have already taken two turns on both ends of the quilt so it seems to be going along nicely.

And lastly, not quilt related BUT, if you want to enter a wonderful giveaway, head on over to my very good friend at Soggibottom. It's a birthday celebration but I'm not saying for who/what and how old. Find out for yourself. Become a follower too, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's been 30 years

It was 30 years ago that I signed up for a night school quilting course. The course was to run for 10 weeks and I figured I would probably miss the very last class since I was pregnant at the time expecting child number three. Well, she came early (the girls were early, the boys late) and so I missed the last two classes.

And here's the birthday girl with flowers that her little sister sent a day early to her work. Today, the birthday girl is taking a day off work and going for a 30 mile run around the city with her boyfriend and a friend that came all the way from Portland, Oregon just to celebrate. The temperature is supposed to be a mild 12 C (54 F) with some light rain.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Napkin Challenge

I have joined Mrs. Moen's napkin challenge. There aren't many of us and I guess it could be because people are trying to get Christmas gifts done. Anyway, here is a selection of napkins that I picked up. I really couldn't make up mind as to which one I wanted to use as my inspiration. The big reveal is December 1st so everyone just has to wait until then to find out.

If you want more info, click on the link in my sidebar that says (obviously) Mrs. Moen's Napkin Challenge.

Note: I did get the glasses fixed and am now proceeding to finish a few projects.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In and around town

The clinging vine.

Brilliant colour.

City worker.

Leaving behind a mess.

Wall of blue trees.

Movable wall at the University of Toronto.

Old bridge - but not as old as in England.

A couple of bikers - not wearing helmets.

Sewing suspended. The good glasses, the wire framed ones on the far right, lost a lens. No sewing until they get fixed.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Champagne Quilters update

Well, we have started another quilt.

So, here it is up on the frame.

And from a different angle.

A close-up of the corner treatment.

We haven't used channel quilting in quite a while. I think it's because we used it a lot at one time and got tired of it. When doing this we don't mark anything, we just use masking tape (see the first two photos) and quilt beside it. It keeps the lines straight. Once again, I am doing the long sides while my two co-horts are doing the interesting quilting. Oh well, I'll be finished soon. We took two turns of the frame last night and I will try to remember to bring the camera next week to show you the quilting design in the plain blocks.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mail and craft fair goodies

This is what came in the mail yesterday.

The latest issue of A Needle Pulling Thread. Here are a few of the projects.

A really cute quilted wall hanging.

A wool applique table runner.

Knitting and felting.

A winter scene in cross stitch.

A cross stitched wreath.

And some knitted leg warmers. 

I didn't show you the knitted hats, the punch needle stocking, the Australian Santa (one in a series of Santas around the world), the Celtic snowflake ornament and so much more. There are many great things about this magazine: it is in full colour, it has something for everyone and all the patterns are included for each project. If you would like to subscribe to this magazine, here's the link.

On the weekend we attended a couple of Christmas bazaars. One was about an hour north but my friend was there selling her pet beds and other paraphernalia and she told me it was a good show. I bought a few things but not much. Then we headed back home and down the street from us is a Salvation Army where we saw these.

My husband fell in love with these and both of us couldn't figure out why they were still there. They must have had many more but we did get these.
But then we decided on two more.

And since there were only three left, we decided to take them as well. 75 cents per cup cake with mini marshmallow flowers - held in place with some white icing. Someone took a lot of time making these. We shared these with the family.

These little muffins were my favourite. As you can see, I had to try them out as soon as they arrived in my kitchen. I should find a recipe so I can make more.

Home made pumpkin pie.

And lastly, there were two of these but one got eaten fairly quickly (not by me). It's a chocolate brownie and my husband said it was a real chocolate brownie. So, whoever made these knows something about baking brownies. We also had lunch there and I managed to picked up a couple of Christmas gifts. It was a successful shopping excursion.