torsdag 30 juli 2009

A stroll in the park

The guests have left and the rain arrived. That's what I call timing! It was sunny yesterday when we visited Rottneros, a park not far from where I live. We strolled in the park for nearly three hours, looking at flowers and sculptures – and had a good time together. Not all flowers were labeled, so sometimes we had to guess what kind of flowers we admired.
Let's take a walk through the park.

This sculpure by Carl Eldh
is called

You can find Siamese twins
even among flowers.

tisdag 28 juli 2009

Do you have a favorite cake?

My third find yesterday was "Perez the Mouse", a charming little book by Luis Coloma with illustrations by George Howard Vyse.
I thought this picture would suit today's tea post, even if it isn't a "tea book".
Some time ago Kristi asked if I have a favorite cake – hers is Hungarian toasted hazelnut torte. Cakes usually end up in the freezer in our house – and not found until I defrost the freezer – but Kristi's tort sounds a bit like the nut torte my German friend Hilde used to make.
My friend Kerstin can't eat any flour and hardly any sugar (and definitely no sugar substitute) so I decided to make a her a nut torte. Instead of making two round cakes with lingonberry jam between the two layers and whipped cream on top, I made one cake (25 cm x 25 cm) and served it with raspberries and ice cream for those who could eat that.

Hildes nöttårta
(Hilde's nut torte)

150 g butter
100 g muscovado sugar

4 eggs, slightly beaten

200 g ground hazelnuts – I toast them first
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa – I usually take some more

Mix the dry ingredients with the wet. Pour into two cake pans (20 cm).
Bake for 20 minutes in 200°C.
Spread lingonberry jam between the layers – or cranberry jam, if you can't find lingon – and whipped cream on top.

You find a handy conversion calculator here.

Do you have a favorite cake you like to share with us? Let me know and I'll link to your post – or if you don't have a blog but still want to share, I can post it here.

lördag 25 juli 2009

Saturday with Gutenberg

I sneaked in some time with Gutenberg this morning before tackling the kitchen chores.

"The Little Brown Hen Hears the Song of the Nightingale & The Golden Harvest" from 1908 by Jasmine Stone Van Dresser and with illustrations by William T. Van Dresser is a charming little book.

I wouldn't call John Philip Sousa's book "The Fifth String" charming – I'm not even sure that I'll read it – but I found it interesting to learn that John Philip Sousa was not only a composer. I didn't know that he also was an author. According to Wikipedia he wrote three books.

About his first book, "The Fifth String" I read:
In his 1902 novel The Fifth String a young violinist makes a deal with the Devil for a magic violin with five strings. The strings can excite the emotions of Pity, Hope, Love and Joy – the fifth string is Death and can be played only once before causing the player's own death. He has a brilliant career, but cannot win the love of the woman he desires. At a final concert, he plays upon the death string.

I'm off to the kitchen as I haven't finished my duties there, so my third find, and maybe the cake I just made (and tasted) will appear in another post.

torsdag 23 juli 2009

There is something in the hedge

I can hear it twitter.

Missed something tasty.

Oh well, there is only one thing to do.


Guess where my person is sitting!
On a wooden stool.

tisdag 21 juli 2009

It's wet, very wet

and not warm, not warm at all.
It climbed to +17°C for a while in the afternoon, but most of the day it has been around +15°C.

The garden is neglected – weeds and snails are taking over.

söndag 19 juli 2009

Let's swap excuses!

I'm running out of excuses.
The Cleaning Lady, from
"Les Femmes de Paris", 1841-42
Alfred Geniole
1. I should vacuum clean now when it rains – but it is so dark that I can't see the dust balls (as if anybody could miss them!).

2. It doesn't rain so I should weed – but it is too hot.

Girl Gardening Peppers
Kate Greenaway
3. I should pay all those bills – but I don't feel like it (that's my most used excuse).


Woman Hanging Her Laundry, 1887
Camille Pissarro
4. Hurray, I can't wash because it rains so much that I can't hang out the laundry!
Letter writer
Carl Larsson (1853 - 1919)
5. Why not answer some mail – I better wait, I don't want to stress my friends by answering too soon. (Some of them will laugh when they read this!)

fredag 17 juli 2009

Tea for the rich and starved

Cake and Wine
Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825)
I've missed my Saturday rendez-vous with Gutenberg the last month. A couple of days ago I took a quick peek to check if they had put up any interesting books lately. They certainly had! Books like "Literary Tours in The Highlands and Islands of Scotland", "The Young Lady's Equestrian Manual",
"Camping with President Roosevelt"

and "The Lady's Own Cookery Book, and New Dinner-Table Directory; In Which will Be Found a Large Collection of Original Receipts". 3rd ed. by Charlotte Campbell Bury. This cookery book from 1844 has some recipes that I find interesting even if I wouldn't dream of trying them. What do you think of this cake?

A very rich Cake.
Two pounds and a half of fresh butter, twenty-four eggs, three-pounds of flour, one pound and a half of sugar, one ounce of mixed spice, four pounds of currants, half a jar of raisins, half of sweet almonds, a quarter of a pound of citron, three quarters of orange and lemon, one gill of brandy, and one nutmeg. First work the butter to a cream; then beat the sugar well in; whisk the eggs half an hour; mix them with the butter and sugar; put in the spice and flour; and, when the oven is ready, mix in the brandy, fruit, and sweetmeats. It will take one hour and a half beating. Let it bake three hours.

And a caraway cake with two pounds of caraway seeds - I'm very fond of caraway seeds, but this sounds like a lot of seeds!

Caraway Cake. No. 1.
Melt two pounds of fresh butter in tin or silver; let it stand twenty-four hours; then rub into it four pounds of fine flour, dried. Mix in eight eggs, and whip the whites to a froth, a pint of the best yest, and a pint of sack, or any fine strong sweet wine. Put in two pounds of caraway seeds. Mix all these ingredients thoroughly; put the paste into a buttered pan, and bake for two hours and a half. You may mix with it half an ounce of cloves and cinnamon.

And finally a recipe that sounds a bit more "normal" for us modern bakers - and eaters:

Dry Tea Cakes.
Boil two ounces of butter in a pint of skimmed milk; let it stand till it is as cold as new milk; then put to it a spoonful of light yest, a little salt, and as much flour as will make it a stiff paste. Work it as much, or more, than you would do brown bread; let it lie half an hour to rise; then roll it into thin cakes; prick them very well quite through, to prevent their blistering, and bake them on tin plates in a quick oven. To keep crisp, they must be hung up in the kitchen, or where there is a constant fire.

lördag 11 juli 2009

Two weeks in paradise

How fast two weeks disappear when you're enjoying yourself!
Two weeks with no duties – but feeding yourself with food I cooked and froze before we went, and washing up – just reading, talking and watching the sea from the balcony. Once a day the boat comes from the city, and brings newspapers and mail, so after tea I walk to the pier to fetch the paper and the latest gossip.

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that my cottage, situated on an island on the Baltic, is my paradise on earth – I was brought there the first time when I was eleven days old, and after that my mother and I stayed for three months in the tiny cottage with no water and no electricity. Since then we have got electricity, but we still have no water or indoor plumbing. There are no cars and no shops on this island – it's not the place to go if you want to dress up, live fast and be entertained.
A lot has changed – many new houses on much smaller lots than the old ones, not all of them pleasant to look at, and the daily boats don't look as nice as the old ones – but we still meet at the pier when the boat comes.

My darling seems to enjoy his stay here as much as we do – he comes and goes as he pleases. The first night he brought me night snacks (alive) on my pillow four times. The next day I told him that I was touched by his generosity but as a vegetarian not interested in that kind of food. He understood and refrained from bringing me any food after that. But he still brought his catch home and sang grace (a very special loud mew, that seems to come from his tummy) before he ate it.

torsdag 9 juli 2009

Back home

It has been a perfect vacation.