16 Feb 2015

Non-mushy Valentine's day

Valentine's day is not only a good excuse to fill your day with sweetness (this year, I chose scones), but it's also a great reason to rebel against syrupy greetings cards with non-mushy illustrations! For the last few years, I have drawn cards inspired by superheroes and their sidekicks. The first card, "Let me be your sidekick"was followed by "Every bat needs a robin", but this year I ended up changing the heroic course and decided to draw something else. The requirements for this year's non-mushy card were the same as before:

- no excessive amounts of hearts, 
- no overuse of colour pink
- something that can be given to friends as well as to lover(s)

Whilst looking for inspiration and browsing through different songs about friendships and love, I ran into the lyrics of the song above (a real tongue twister, I may say!). Suddenly, the idea hit me like rama lama llama ka dinga da dinga dong!

End result: eight tiny hearts and one pink corner. That's fairly non-mushy for a Valentine's day card, I suppose.

How about you? Was your Valentine's day mushy or non-mushy?

5 Feb 2015

House fairy's muffins

House fairy:
noun: house fairy; plural: house fairies
a dominant or less dominant characteristic in a person. May give a sudden urge to vacuum clean, polish silver cutlery, mend socks, knit or bake. "This floor is shining - what a house fairy you are!"
See also: 50's housewife spasm

Sometimes, I take great pleasure in pottering around the house and arranging nice little chores for myself. Today was that kind of a day, so I decided to put on my mental apron  and bake some muffins - for the first time in my life, I may add.

I love comparing different recipes and doing extensive research into tips and tricks of baking. What kind of muffin cases should I use? As stiff as possible. How do I make sure that the muffins will become moist and soft instead of turning into sweet stones? Use yogurt instead of milk, mix the dough as little as possible and don't leave the muffins in the oven for too long.

Equipped with a brand new muffin mold, paper cups with polka dots and all the knowledge I could find about making perfect muffins, I swang into action following a recipe from a Finnish blog called Voisilmäpeliä, written by Eeva Kolu. I also improvised a bit according to what we had - or didn't have - in the cupboard.

(makes about 10 medium muffins)

3 ½ dl whole-wheat flour

3/4 dl sugar
(I replaced part of the sugar with honey)
3 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ dl sunflower oil
1 ½ dl plain yogurt
1 egg
2 ½ dl frozen blueberries

¾ dl whole-wheat flour
¾ dl sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp soft butter

Mix flour, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl. Take another bowl, and mix oil, yogurt and egg. Add the liquidy mixture into the dry mix and mix just until they have blended together. Put some flour on a plate, and roll the blueberries in it until covered with a light layer of flour (this will prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom). Fold the berries into the dough gently, trying not to break them.

Put the dough into molds, and prepare the crumble: mix flour, sugar and cinnamon together and add 2 spoons of soft butter in small pieces. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the mixture until you have a bread crumb-like texture. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the muffins and bake in 200°C for about 20 minutes. You can test whether the muffins are done by poking a toothpick through to see whether it comes out clean or with raw dough.