butter makes everything better

raise your hand if you agree with me. đŸ™‹đŸ»â€â™€ïž

okay, so i haven’t been exactly diligent when it comes to writing blog posts these days, but i’ll blame it on the pandemic, along with everything else that’s been wrong with me and my life. it’s the truth, though.

earlier this year, i had some health problems that made me unable to eat as usual. and i used to LOVE eating. when we go traveling somewhere, eating something new and unique is one of my fave things to do. it made me double sad when i couldn’t go anywhere during the pandemic time and couldn’t even find the joy in eating.

so i pushed myself to start learning new recipes. together with my husband, we learned to cook new things. food that we usually bought ready-made or frozen, we now do from scratch.

and, i pushed myself to bake new things. it had been a while since i last tried any online recipe for sweet stuff, and the first thing i decided to try to make this year (because it looked so simple) was something called voisilmĂ€pulla in Finnish. the name literally translates to ‘butter eye bun’, hence the title of this blog post.

i used this recipe and it worked out so well!

there’s always something magical about seeing your dough rise. kind of like watching your baby grow, in a lot smaller scale! 😄

this bun recipe is slightly different from my mom-in-law’s bun recipe, but i followed it to the t and it was a successful experiment, even for a beginner like me!

time to add the butter! ❀

so where does the butter go, you ask?

right to the top center of each bun! the above picture was taken when i first tried the recipe, which was why the ditch were quite small. i have since learned to make them bigger so i can fit more butter into the bun!

the white thing is the additional flour after the butter and sugar are inserted to the ditch.

time to bake them!

needless to say, just smelling the fragrant scent of the butter made my mouth water already. and because i did it all from scratch, it made me feel useful (like i had a purpose) and want to eat them, because otherwise it would be such a waste!

so buttery. so good.

yes, they tasted as good as they looked!

after baking these, i started seeing food the way i used to again. it made me work up my appetite and the more i cooked & baked, the more i felt like eating normally.

and you know what? having good food always make me feel instantly great. for me, it’s the butter that did it this time. it really did make my life better!

i’ll try to post more from now on, as i do have more baking/cooking/sewing stuff lined up for blog posts. in the meantime, i hope you’re all keeping yourselves healthy, both physically and mentally!

PS. i’m having a hard time using the block-editor to post this, as the image captions can never look like the way i want them to anymore. 😱 since there’s no way i’m paying to upgrade my blog to be able to have the classic editor plugin, i’ll just have to live with this weird-looking caption now.

magic mushrooms

in my 10 years experience of sewing, i hadn’t got the chance to sew Finnish design fabrics other than the big brands like Marimekko, Finlayson’s Moomin, and Nanso. to be honest, i didn’t even know much about Finnish ‘indie’ design fabric brands that much, until some colleagues of mine started introducing them to me some time last year. and what a wonderful alternative they are to the other bigger brands!

i had wanted to get my hands on them ever since, but compared to the fabrics i usually buy & sew, these Finnish ones are naturally quite pricey. for example, i usually spend about 5€-10€ for a single fabric for one project, but these fabrics cost around 24€ per meter. so i wanted to be careful when choosing the fabrics to buy from these brands, and not end up regretting the purchase.

luckily for me, some months ago there was an arts and crafts event called Ommel where these brands sold their fabrics for cheaper prices. this event was also where i got to learn about & test the sewing machine i ended up getting (didn’t buy it from the event itself, though). in short, this event was my perfect opportunity to get deeper into my passion of sewing.

after some hours of deliberating, i decided to get 2 fabrics from Verson Puoti. the other one is to be posted later when i have made something out of it, but this first one is called Sienisato.why i decided to get this one is actually another story probably worth telling.

just before this event, i celebrated my 10th year anniversary at my work place. my colleagues had secretly prepared surprise gifts for me, and one of them was a skirt made out of a Marimekko fabric. ❀

i really love that skirt and want to use it everyday, however i found that i only have plain t-shirts to wear with it, either black or white. so i was looking for another special fabric that i can use together with that skirt, and thought that black and white print would be lovely.

self-made top, hand-made Marimekko skirt from colleagues, handmade earrings from another colleague.

but you can be the judge of that! even though i haven’t been using crazy prints that much lately, i do still like to mix prints and colours. now with this Marimekko skirt, i can go all out!

this piece of fabric that i got was cotton jersey, sized 70 cm long and about 160 cm wide. it’s wider than most jerseys, so at first i thought i would still be left with a small piece for some other project. but alas, the first sleeve piece i cut was much too narrow that my arm couldn’t fit it, so i had to cut new ones.

since i promised to really make use of my new sewing machine, i tested different stitches for this project. for the sleeves, since they are still quite tight even after i cut new pieces, i used an elastic stitch (left picture above) which is not really straight but also not really ziggy zaggy, more like a combo of these two. for the added detail, i decided to make straps from black cotton jersey and used decorative stitches on it.

i had worried that the decorative stitches would be uneven when i do it to a stretchy material, but since i folded the fabrics twice (so that it’s 3-layered) i suppose it helped to stabilize it, and i would say my machine did a pretty damn good job! (can you tell how much i love my new machine already?)

for this project, i used the good ol’ Ottobre design magazine pattern that i have used numerous times on different types of dresses and tops. since i am still learning on how to make my own patterns, i did this one the ‘idiot’ way: first i traced the pattern and cut the fabric as they were supposed to be (minus the neck pieces), and then i sewed the sleeves and back & front pieces together, and then cut the neckline so that it would be slightly off-shoulder. then, i added the straps.

as you can also probably guess, i love the result so much! i’m just so proud of myself and my sewing machine for being able to put the lovely print design to a good use. maybe it’s because of these magic mushrooms! also, i’m happy to be able to support these local indie textile designers, i do hope i don’t disappoint them by making this top out of their magical print.

travelling without moving

“if i were to visit you later this year, would that be okay?” asked a friend of mine, V, some time early this year. mind you, we live half a world apart and hadn’t seen each other since 2010. and even then we only met for like 10 minutes. before i moved to Finland, we used to meet everyday, or at the very least every weekend because i was in a long distance relationship with you-know-who and she was single at that time. we accompanied each other in our singledoms. 😀

1a

long time no see!

so of course you can guess how i answered her question. everything was just a crazy idea at that time, but after months of plannings and messages back & forth, it finally came: the moment she was finally here in Finland to visit me!

it was a short visit among the rest of her Europe trip, but we had lots of fun! it’s not everyday (not even every month, or year!) that somebody from Indonesia comes to visit me, and then i get to show her/him around. for me to talk freely in Indonesian and see the city like a tourist felt like travelling without moving… because i didn’t actually go anywhere, just experienced the same city/things in different ways, in ways a tourist would.

Marimekon tehtaanmyymĂ€lĂ€ (Marimekko’s Factory Outlet)

would you believe it if i tell you that all these years i’ve lived here, i had never once gone there? well, i made it my personal goal that we went there right away on the 1st day, because i knew she would just love it. and she did. i think she died a little there from seeing all the lovely things, LOL.

Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum

one of my all time fave museums/galleries. currently they show Choi Jeong Hwa’s Happy Together collection, which i really love, along with Ernesto Neto’s and Jani Ruscica’s collection. (there are other artworks by other artists as well, but the main/solo ones are what i previously wrote.)

we had a great time here, touching things, smelling things (yep, there’s an installation for your sense of smell!), and just being wowed by the fun artworks.

Ateneum Art Museum

we came here on the very last day of her visit and barely made it before the museum closed. they currently showcase Alice Neel’s artworks which are just fantastic! there are also Finnish artists’ artworks in Stories of Finnish Art and Italian print artworks in the Great Rider collection.

we met up with my other friend, E. it was kind of surreal for me to actually witness my 2 friends from different parts of the world & different times of my life meeting each other!

Other Places & Foods

at first i had planned to introduce Finnish foods to my friend, but i guess that’s too idealistic… because to be honest, the best place to find Finnish foods is from people’s homes! meaning: i would have to cook them myself. and i was too lazy for that, LOL! so i scrapped that idea and just followed my tummy when it was time for us to eat.

i really enjoyed playing tourist as i get to do things i don’t normally do. and having someone you know getting excited over something you’ve been taking for granted allows you to see it differently, and gets you excited as well.

thank you for coming, V! hope to see you again real soon! 🙂

PS. most of the pics here were taken by V and used by permission.

my summer holiday 2016…

… has ended. i swear, if there’s any 4 weeks in a year that goes by too fast, they’re always during the summer holiday! pffft.

here’s a quick recap of all that was done, minus the trip to Singapore because that one already had 3 separate blog posts.

Summer cottage, re-painted

as usual, we went to my husband’s grandparents’ summer cottage. but this time we went there with a mission, and i don’t mean to have fun: we had to re-paint the main building and the warehouse building next to it. don’t get me wrong, painting is fun (yes, even painting a house), but the part that was tough was the preparation. first we had to brush, brush, brush off the old paint & green moss with a mini metal brush, and brush them some more until they are evenly non-coloured…. and then and only then we could start painting. huffff! we were so busy, we didn’t have time for pics on the brushing, but there are proofs of the painting! (plus my fashionable country-side get-up, ha!)

seeing the result & the scenery around the cottage, i suppose it was worth all the work, and i can only say: thank goodness the paint ran out in the middle, otherwise we would still be working there! 😀

on the last pic, though the 2 buildings are quite far, i hope you can see the result of our paintings. if you compare the colours of the building from the first 2 pics while i was painting them and this last pic, you can clearly see the darker paint… and how lovely it is painted, right? 😉 we managed to do the staircases too just before the paint ran out.

Newcomer

my mum-in-law and her husband lost their dog 3 years ago. we had been trying to persuade them to take a new one for years to no avail, but suddenly when we were in Singapore they made an announcement: they were adopting a cat!

H is a bengal cat and he is very shy. i don’t remember now how old he is, maybe around 2 years old? at first when we came around for a visit, he didn’t want to come near us and only hid under the sofa. but after a while, he realized we posed no threat, took a nap beside me, and even let us pet him. ❀ welcome to the family, H!

Pie experiments

summer equals fresh berries here in Finland, and there’s really nothing better than Finnish strawberries and blueberries! i have always been fond of strawberries, so of course a strawberry pie was called for.

i used 1 liter of strawberries (yep, that’s how we measure strawberries here, by liter), and in my opinion i could’ve put some more! 😀 the best way to eat it (the Finnish way) is with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, of course. it was quite successful, except that the crust was too thick on the sides–or maybe it just needed more strawberries, like i said. but the taste was superb!

we planned to make another pie after successfully making this one, to give to my husband’s granddad. but this time we decided to try the blueberries, because he happens to love blueberry pies. and so, the experiment began again.

for the blueberry pie, i used 600 grams of blueberries and just a very small amount of sugar. the first pic shows the pie before baking, and the second pic was the result! it was an even better success, and my husband’s granddad loved it. 🙂 for Finnish blueberry pies, it’s also good to eat them with hot caramel sauce. mmmm….

Turning 35 (!!!)

can’t believe i’m already halfway through my thirties! but anyway, there’s always a reason to celebrate, and my choice of celebration this year is sushi. AGAIN.

woot! they were gone in 60 seconds. 😀 just kidding, of course it took longer than that, and i did not finish them all by myself!

flamingo

being 35 doesn’t have to mean being old & boring, right?

that is all we had the time to do this summer holiday. didn’t i say it went by so quickly?

my first pie

in middle school, while reading my fave Betty & Veronica (of the Archies) double digest comic book, i came across one story in which Veronica read an article in a silly teen magazine that if a woman was to ever get married, she must first know how to bake a pie. Veronica wailed and cried and confessed to Betty, her best friend/rival, that she couldn’t bake anything, let alone a pie.

while we all know that baking pies is hardly any “condition” for women to marry these days, i must say that my heart went out for dear Ronnie. because: i also could not bake a pie. thankfully, i am already married. ha!

but here is the irony: my mum-in-law had actually won, many times, the annual local competitions for the best pies. oh yes, she’s been queen of pies for many years. she always comes up with the best ingredients for pies, salty ones and sweet ones, and they always taste yummy. we’ll talk about those someday, but let’s stay on topic for now.

ever since i had “mastered” making apple roses, and as my husband always has a soft spot for apples, i had been thinking of trying my luck in the world of pies. and what else would be better than asking for a recipe from my mum-in-law?

if you are not familiar with Finnish pies, i must first remind you that it’s not really the same as American ones. most pies here are not “covered” with another layer of crust; instead, the “topping” is just there on the top. if you remember what egg tarts look like, well, imagine that… but bigger and thicker. 😀 there you have it, Finnish pies.

since i’m still not an expert in any baking stuff, i will not post any recipe. but the main ingredients i used for this pie’s crust are: all-purpose flour, baking powder, whipping cream, sugar, butter. i forgot that i wanted to add cardamom while making the dough, so i ended up adding it when the dough was already on the mould. oops.

for the topping, i used 5 big apples, small amount of butter, and lots & lots of sugar and cinnamon.

and when i took it out from the oven…

applepie1

… ta-daaaah! i was so proud! it looked just like a real Finnish pie! ❀

and now, for the texture & taste.

applepie2

oh, yes. it’s a Finnish apple pie alright. 😀

too bad i didn’t have vanilla ice cream to eat it with (= how the Finns usually consume apple pies), nor vanilla cream. i did, however, have tiny leftover of the whipping cream, so we used it as an extra.

applepie3

i was so happy and touched as i ate it. somehow i never thought i could finally be able to make a pie from scratch, but i did it!

now i feel even more contented because i am married AND i can bake pies! 😀 wherever Veronica Lodge is now, i hope she is just as lucky & contented!

selvisin!

at first i was afraid, i was petrified…

se alkoi kun saimme liput yhteen teatteritapahtumaan mun mieheni isoisĂ€ltĂ€. hĂ€n sanoi samalla, “nyt (minĂ€) voit samalla harjoitella suomen kieltĂ€!”. aivan, teatteriesitys onkin kokonaan suomen kielellĂ€.

rakastan kaikkea teatteri-, ooppera-, musikaali-, tanssiesitystÀ. mutta en ollut koskaan aikaisemmin kÀynyt missÀÀn teatterissa tÀÀllÀ Suomessa, missÀ esitetÀÀn suomen kielellÀ. mun suurin pelko on se, ettÀ en ymmÀrtÀisi mitÀ ne puhuvat, enkÀ nauraisi vitsejÀ. nÀin on mennyt 9,5 vuotta elÀmÀni tÀÀllÀ. ehkÀ nyt olisi aika.

menin sinne mieheni kanssa ja kun saapuimme, musta tuntuu ettĂ€ kaikki silmĂ€t katsoivat minua kohti (varmaankin vain kuvittelin niin, mutta…). ensinnĂ€kin olimme luultavasti ainoa “nuori” pariskunta kun kaikki muut olivat n. +60v. 😀 ja se ettĂ€ en nĂ€ytĂ€ perinteiseltĂ€ suomalaiselta oli varmaan toinen syy. voin melkein kuulla mitĂ€ he ajattelivat: onko hĂ€n (= minĂ€) vÀÀrĂ€ssĂ€ paikassa? miten hĂ€n voisi nauttia tĂ€stĂ€ esityksestĂ€ kun ei ymmĂ€rtĂ€isi suomea? kyllĂ€ jĂ€nnitti. mutta, the show must go on!

kun esitys alkoi… hei, minĂ€hĂ€n ymmĂ€rsin mitĂ€ tuo sanoi. ja tuo, ja hĂ€n, ja se. ja hei, se oli hauskaa! hahaha, ja nauroinkin vitsejĂ€, vaikka ne olivat kaikki suomen kielellĂ€! enkĂ€ teeskennellyt, vaan oikeasti ymmĂ€rsin kaiken! yes, i did it! selvisin sen! aivan mahtava fiilis tuli sen jĂ€lkeen! 🙂

kyse oli siis komedia esitys, jonka nimi on Kaktuksen Kukka (perustuu 60-luvun samannimiseen ranskalaiskomediaan, Cactus Flower / Fleur de cactus). siinĂ€ esiintyy mm. Santeri Kinnunen, Satu Silvo, ja Eija Vilpas. Silvo oli mun suosikki, hĂ€n on niin hyvĂ€ nĂ€yttelijĂ€! rooli sopii hĂ€nelle tĂ€ydellisesti. tykkĂ€sin myös Vilpaksen toiminta (vinkki: jos olet menossa katsomaan tĂ€tĂ€, etsipĂ€s hĂ€nen 2 muuta ‘salaroolia’ siinĂ€).

venue oli Areena, ‘pieni’ teatterisali Hakaniemen kauppahallin edessĂ€. se muistuttaa mua erÀÀn teatterisaliin Jakartassa joka veikkaan on yhtĂ€ vanhaa ja pientĂ€ (mutta just sopiva koko). lavaste ja rekvisiitta oli tosi hyvĂ€ ja toimiva, sillĂ€ kun kohtaus vaihtuu nekin vaihtuvat samalla nopeasti ja vaihto oli saumaton.

suosittelen tĂ€mĂ€ esitys lĂ€mpimĂ€sti kaikille joka haluaa hyvÀÀ fiilistĂ€, varsinkin kun ulkona on nĂ€in kylmÀÀ ja muutenkin masentavaa. huomasin vain yksi juttu kun olin lĂ€hdössĂ€ pois teatterilta silloin: kaikilla oli rento, kukaan ei lĂ€htenyt huonolla mielellĂ€ vaan jokaisessa kasvoissa oli vĂ€hintÀÀn iso hymy. jopa miehenikin sanoi ettĂ€ se oli hauskaa, eikĂ€ hĂ€n muistanut milloin hĂ€nellĂ€ oli niin paljon hauskaa missÀÀn esityksessĂ€ tĂ€tĂ€ ennen. olen samaa mieltĂ€. 🙂

lue lisÀÀ esityksestÀ tÀssÀ.

in short: for the first time ever in my life, i went to see a comedy play which was performed completely in Finnish. and i understood everything! i even laughed at the jokes, yay! thanks to my husband’s granddad who gave us the tickets and hinted that this would be the perfect way to brush up my Finnish. he was right, and i had so much fun! (hence i felt compelled to write the story in Finnish.)

PS. i know there must be plenty of mistakes in my Finnish writings, anteeksi vaan. well, practice makes perfect! 😉

makin’ whoopee

if you ask me what my most favourite Finnish bun is, i would say, without a doubt: shrove bun! (laskiaispulla in Suomi.)

here’s a little fact about it. Shrove Tuesday, or laskiainen in Suomi, is a day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday, and people in other countries might celebrate it by consuming pancakes, which is why its other name is Pancake day. it’s supposedly the last day of gorging/eating till you just can’t eat anymore, so we are all allowed to gain an undisclosed amount of fat. 😀

well, that’s what the shrove bun is all about: FAT.

up to this year’s Shrove Tuesday, i’ve always only bought ready-made shrove buns from the supermarkets & cafes. they’re always rather pricey, so i could usually only afford 2, which means one for me and one for my husband. in a way i guess it’s good because we don’t get too much fat. :p

but this year, when i was talking about getting some shrove buns, my co-worker J said that i should just make my own. remembering how well i’ve managed to make cinnamon buns aka korvapuusti, i decided to accept the challenge!

so basically i did the same mix of ingredients as what i used for the cinnamon buns, minus the cinnamon powder.

laskiaispulla1

there, the buns are done! after letting it cool down, it’s time to part each bun to two, and add the fat! the most common shrove buns here are usually filled with either raspberry jam or almond paste (plus whipped cream). my fave is the raspberry jam version, so that’s what i added.

laskiaispulla2

ahem, yes, i might have added a little bit too much of the jam. my husband said “that’s the most raspberry jam i’ve ever eaten–EVER–in a bun!”. well, but i don’t think he minded eating them. 😉

for the whipped cream, i used whipping cream (kuohukerma) and had my husband help me to whip it. this was my very first time seeing how it’s done (yes, you heard me right, i had never whipped creams before, nor have i seen it done, live), and i have to tell you… it’s like MAGIC! first it’s all liquidy and then you add a small amount of sugar and whip it… and ta-daaah! it’s suddenly all puffy and solid (well, almost) and it doesn’t turn back into its liquidy form! amazing!

back to the buns. after the filling, it’s time to put the heads back on and sprinkle the sugar for topping. usually people use sugar crystals for it, but i like icing sugar better. plus it’s the only one i had at home, so icing sugar it was!

laskiaispulla3

now tell me how fatty those buns look? VERY. yep. time to eat them!

laskiaispulla4

three days after i made them, they were all gone. all 16 buns of them! phew. i think i can live without shrove buns for a while now. that is, until my craving for fat comes kicking in.

BONUS: all the while i made these buns and ate them, i couldn’t help whistling this tune from Eddie Cantor’s “Makin’ Whoopee”. so here’s that song for you to listen to, just for fun! (this version is arranged by Silvio Blonde & His Invisible Orchestra.)