08 August 2011

What I did on my holiday

Remember the first few days back at school and how you had to write an essay about what you did during the summer? Hehe, that's what this reminds me of. While this isn't my whole holiday, but only a snippet of it, it's still stuff I did, with Mr Siili, the cats and my father-in-law (FIL).

Mr Siili and I tossed the cats into the car on last week's Wednesday and drove to his parents' house to spend a few days with his dad. (His mom is walking the Way of St. James pilgrimage in Spain.) We should have waited until the evening as our cats were very hot from the trip and Rusty was panting for quite some time after we arrived. It was quite scary.

During our stay, we picked black currants from Mr Siili's parents' yard and also the berries from one of his sister's yard. The weather was perfect! The first day we picked it was beautifully sunny and hot, with just a touch of warm breeze! We first had to rescue the bushes from nokkonen (stinging nettle) and then we could pick the berries in relative peace. It was so nice to just be outside, together and in relative quietness with only the shushing of birch trees in the breeze and a small plane doing aerial stunts overheard. After about 1.5 hours hours of getting rid of the nettles and 2.5 hours of picking currants, we decided it was enough for the day even though we hadn't picked everything yet. We did go back the next day for another 2-3 hours and got the rest of the berries.

mustaherukka pensas / black currant bush
I did pick about 2 liters of karviainen (goosberry), which I boiled with a bit of water and sugar and then froze to use at a later date. I think I'll make an apple-gooseberry pie or two this winter.

karviainen pensas / gooseberry bush
When we got back to the in-laws house, FIL got out their steam juicer and we put the black currents to juice. Basically you just dump the berries (stems, leaves and bugs included) into the juicer, add some sugar and steam them until the juice comes out. Then you pour the hot juice into sterilized bottles and cap them. You've then got great juice for the winter, especially if you get sick and need something hot to help you feel better. In total, I think we picked about 16 liters of berries and ended up with about 6.5 liters of juice.

Mehu-Maija / steam juicer

While the berries were juicing, Mr Siili picked me some raparperi (rhubarb) from the yard and I made 2 rhubarb strawberry pies (recipe below). Unfortunately, Mr Siili's 2 sisters didn't come join us for dessert and we had to eat them all by ourselves (ok, the 3 of us only polished off one of them that first evening).

raparperi-mansikkapiirakka / rhubarb-strawberry pie

The only thing I didn't get pictures of was the 4-5 liters of kantarelli (chanterelle mushrooms) that I picked the morning we headed back home. These are some of the yummiest mushrooms! I'm thinking I'll make a quiche, a soup and just fry the rest at some point.

This pie recipe was one of the first Finnish recipes (after potato bread) I learned when I came to Finland. These pies are delicious and so very easy to make. They are also quite versatile in that you can put any type of berry or combo of berry you like.

Mamman marjapiirakka / Mamma's berry pie
2/3 cup (150g) butter/margerine
1/2 cup (1dl) sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup (3dl) flour (regular flour or wheat flour or a combo works)
1 tsp baking powder

Mix ingredients together, spread on the bottom and sides of a low pie pan.

1 cup (2dl) sour cream
1/4 (1/2dl) cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups (1/2 liter) berries (rhubarb, blueberries, lingonberry, apple+cinnamon)
(w/rhubarb, put it in the filling for a few min before pouring it into the shell.)

Pour the filling in the pie pan/shell.

Bake at 400F (200C) for 20-40min.
Let cool a bit after you take it out of the oven so the filling can set. Serve warm or cold with vanilla sauce and/or ice cream.