Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Lucky Shells

There is one type of shell I always look out for when on my treasure hunts. I call it 'my lucky shell'. For some reason I seem to find at least one of these on each of my hunts. And for this I feel lucky.

I know I am not satisfied with my hunt until I have found at least one of these.

I have never wondered what its real name is, but I guess it might be worth finding out. They are pretty, each shell is so unique.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sweet Little Pulla Buns

I was busy baking our favourite treat yesterday and thought I would share the results. Num nums.

 Pulla (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈpulːɑ]) is a mildly-sweet Finnish dessert bread flavored with crushed cardamom seeds and occasionally raisins or sliced almonds. Braid loaves (pitko) are formed from three or more braided strands of dough. The braids may also be formed into a ring. Other types of pulla include small round ones that resemble English scones but have a sugar and butter topping, and larger cinnamon roll buns called korvapuusti. The outside typically has a shiny brown glaze, formed by a coating of egg white, milk or a mixture of sugar and brewed coffee.
Pitko is typically served in thin slices with coffee or at special occasions. Regular small Pulla is served as a whole. Serving pulla with coffee is a very common practice in Finland.
There it is also commonly known as nisu, an old Finnish word still in use with the same meaning in some dialects, despite originally simply meaning "wheat."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Homemade lemonade experience

Our lemons are finally turning yellow, and there are alot of them. 

My eldest son (only 4) had this longing to make homemade lemonade. He must have seen it on a show or movie. So I searched and found a fantastic old fashioned style homemade lemonade recipe. Here is the link. I had never tasted homemade lemonade so I was looking forward to the experience. I think every child has visions of selling homemade lemonade at the front of their house at one of those rickety crate style stands.

I liked it and so did he. Although it is ever so slightly tart, it can definately be enjoyed with a sweet treat as it is often seen on the movies. I think my lemons could be slightly riper next time to get it a little sweeter.

Rewarded From The Earth

I love my veggie garden. I find it so rewarding being able to pop out to the garden to supply fresh produce for the evenings meal.

Now growing:
Iceberg Lettuce
Rocket Lettuce
Snow Peas

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lemon Curd

I have an abundance of lemons, so have been experimenting and creating lots of yummy lemony things. This is yummy lemon curd. And so easy to make!

Taken from

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 Cup Sugar
Juice & Zest from 2 Lemons
1/3 Cup Chilled Unsalted Butter
  1. In a medium saucepan combine the eggs, yolks and sugar.
  2. Place over low heat.
  3. Add the butter, juice and rind.
  4. Using a whisk, stir constantly until the curd thickens.
  5. To test when it is ready, run your finger down the back of a wooden spoon, if it leaves a clear path, the curd is ready. It will set once it cools.
  6. Strain and jar, allow to cool before sealing jar.

Pulla Recipe

This recipe is always made with love in our home. I have made this recipe with family members and even though we do the exact same steps, there are variables that are purely based on your technique which will affect the outcome. If you are going to attempt this recipe take your time and enjoy the process.

1/2 Lt Milk - must be room temperature
1 Tsp Salt
140 ML White Sugar
1 Egg
1 1/2 Tsp Cardamon (I used Cardamon pods see step 1)
1 1/2 - 2 Sachets Dry Yeast
1 KG Plain Flour
125 GM Butter - best at room temperature

Vanilla Sugar
White Sugar
Egg Wash - 2 Eggs

Making The Dough ... with love:

1. Put your cardamon pods into a pessel & mortar. Smash open pods, remove seeds, then grind seeds to a salt size consistency.

2. Add milk, salt, sugar, egg and cardamon to a 1Ltr jug and whisk together to combine. The milk should be room temperature to assist in the yeast expansion.

3. Sprinkle yeast over top of the milk mixture. Using a fork, dab the top of the yeast to 'just wet' and leave to swell for a few minutes.

4. Transfer this mixture to a very large bowl. This step is now a 'feel' thing. Start pouring flour into the mix, don't use the whole kilo, we are just adding as we need. I start with about 6-8 large scoops.

5. Mix the flour in. Keep adding until 'very thick' ~ for me, this is so thick that you can't stir in the flour any
more, but it also has some loose flour in the bowl and on the dough.

6. Pour the butter onto the mix. This is best at room temperature or I like to leave in the sun on my kitchen bench till it gets to that really soft stage. You really want to avoid melting it in the microwave as I find the runny butter isn't as effective.

7. This step is where technique gets involved. First you need to stretch in the butter. I use a silicone spatula for this step. Get the spatula under your dough and lift up from under the centre, let the dough slowly make its way off the spatula down back into the bowl. You need to spend a good 3 minutes just lifting the dough and letting it stretch itself back into the bowl.

8. Now knead in the butter. Knead the dough a few more times, scrape any excess from the bowl. Leave dough in the form of a ball. This ball of dough will be sticky with butter and you may need to scrape if off your fingers.

9. Set the bowl of dough aside in a warm spot and cover with a tea towel. Leave till the dough has doubled in size, this could take 4-5 hours, sooner if the weather is warmer. IF it is winter, you may need to assist this process by putting a bowl into a sink of warm water. Just make sure that the tea towel doesn't get wet. My mummi puts a plastic bag across the top of the bowl and then the tea towel to keep the dough safe.

Making The Pulla ... with love:

1. From here on you need a clean floured bench, rolling pin, your filling ingredients, a butter knife, a sharp knife, egg wash & brush, 2 flat trays lined with baking paper.

2. Pre-heat oven to 240 degrees, hot!

3. Using a sharp knife, cut your ball of dough in half and put the first half onto your floured bench top. Cover the remaining half.

4. Adding some extra flour you need to knead the dough until it becomes a nice dough consistency to roll out, so not sticky anymore. But don't over flour. Knead into a rectangle shape.

5. Using your rolling pin roll from the centre outwards into a nice big rectangle. Be sure to always work from the centre out to about 5mm thick. Make sure that the bench underneath is always lightly floured.

6. Spread with butter, sprinkle generously with white sugar, sprinkle on cinnamon, sprinkle on vanilla sugar.

7. Starting from the top of the bench, lift the top edge with your fingers and start to roll down into a roll. Be sure not to make the roll tight when rolling. Just lightly roll the dough down.

8. Almost done! Cut the roll on an angle into triangles.

Get the top or bottom point of the triangle, stand it up and push it down. Dip your finger in flour if needed to really get the point down into the dough.

9. Place on the tray evenly spaced. Tip: You generally have larger pullas being formed from the middle of the log and smaller from the outer edges. I place the larger pullas on the outer edge of the tray, and the smaller pulla on the middle of the tray.

10. Brush with egg wash. Lastly (and most importantly) get a big pinch of white sugar and dump it into the middle of each pulla.

11. Cook for about 5 mins. You may want to reduce your temperature to about 220. Pulla will burn fast, so you must set your timer, it is easy to forget if you being to start your 2nd roll.

12. Check your pulla in the oven, it should be lightly browned. This is how my mummi told me how to check if it is cooked: using a fork, lift the pulla and look at the underside. If the bottom of the pulla is brown, it is ready. Although this may not be the way all the time. You may need to play around with temperature settings, location in the oven, etc, before you get this 100% right. I know my pulla is ready when I can smell it from the oven.

13. Start all over again with your last portion of pulla dough.

Yummy Pulla!

It is a long process but worth the effort. 

I only like to serve my pulla to people who appreciate it, reading the above, I am sure you understand why.

For me, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing my 2 beautiful boys ENJOYING fresh warm pulla that I made with lots of love. XXxxx