Rose Petal Ice cubes & Baby’s Breath wreath

 

‘rose petal ice cubes & delicate baby’s breath flower crown´

June has really stepped up its game in terms of constant sunshine, and the heat brings all kinds of beautiful drinks to the palm of our hands. Hydration is so important for your skin and body during the summer, and I love playing around with the idea of incorporating florals into the scene. Not that this hasn’t been done before, however I have never tried making eatable flower ice cubes. I have made gorgeous herb ice cubes from thyme and mint and used them for summer cocktails made of lemon or rosé wine that always add a visual touch. Since I had freshly picked a few rose buds from my mother in laws garden, I wanted to take advantage of them as I know, they are chemical free and completely organic. I washed and ripped the pale pink petals and dropped them into my icetray and shaped them into form. This morning, I tested my rose petal ice cubes with a glass of cold water while making a baby’s breath flower crown. Not only did the ice cubes look delicately beautiful, but it instantly elevates the drink to the next level. To be honest, it did not infuse the water with flavor, this is probably because the cubes are so big in size and take really long to melt but, the visual aspect was enough for me. If you are planning any get togethers, try this for your next drink. It also works beautifully in coolers for your bottle, with petal ice cubes all around.

On another note, since I have so many beautiful flowers from my birthday, I wanted to take full advantage of all of them, hence I decided to make a delicate little baby’s breath crown to celebrate the beautiful days of June. Baby’s breath is a durable flower which makes it perfect for making wreaths. It is so light from 4am till 11pm at this time of year and it really gives an uplifting sense and strength of energy that we will carry with us when fall takes over.

Pink Raw porridge

‘Fiber packed goodness to start the week’

Yesterday my friend and I had a lovely Sunday forest walk away from the city to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. Siena was able to run off some extra energy and I picked some gorgeous wildflowers to take back home. I had made some raw porridge last night, so this Monday morning started with a fiber packed breakfast filled with berry goodness. I don’t know how many times I have mentioned this, but I am a huge fan of overnight oats/raw porridge as I love the nutty velvety texture it holds. I’ve noticed that a raw porridge does not need to sit the refrigerator overnight, but it is enough for it to settle for about an hour or so. The great thing about this breakfast is that it is so easy and quick to make that really doesn’t even require measuring. It is perfectly fine to play around with the flavors and amount, as it all depends on what consistency you prefer. This was the first time I added dried prunes to the mixture and it not only adds great health benefits but also a rich sweet flavor. The berries I used were a mixture of black, red and blueberries and the almonds had the skin on as well. This pink porridge is packed with deliciousness and it is the perfect way to start the week. Ps. How stunning are these blue bell flowers? I don’t think I have ever seen such large ones.

Pink Berry Raw Porridge

Ingredients

  • 200g frozen berries of choice (slightly defrosted)
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ cup rye oat flakes
  • About 1 cup oat milk
  • 4-5 dried juicy prunes

Mix everything in a blender until a smooth paste and refrigerate overnight or for a few hours. Once ready to eat, garnish with more prunes, mint leaves and a sprinkling of ground flaxseed. The texture should be a oozing thick velvety texture. If the consistency looks too thin or thick, you can always add more oats or milk.

Grapefruit with sage butter

‘Simplicity at it’s best’

Find the most delicious pink grapefruit and dress with a succulent browned sage butter. The slightly bitter fruit soaks up the earthy sage flavours giving these simple ingredients an entire new meaning. I remember in France, being served fresh oranges with caramelized butter, which led me to want to try this combination. No real directions needed here; basically, brown a dollop of butter in a pan with a few sage leaves and allow it to turn slightly brown. Pour it on top of sliced grapefruit. I also added ground flaxseed, but this is optional. This dish can easily be an appetizer or dessert but just switching up a few ingredients. I received these peonies for my birthday and they are just so delicate and stunning.

Apple Blossom Sunset

‘The end of Apple blossom season at 10pm´

A heatwave has fallen over Finland and we are experiencing summer at its best time. I managed to catch the last of apple blossom season, just before all the petals danced to the grass. Can you believe that these apple blossom pictures are taken at 10pm and the sun was still in the sky? Summer solstice is just around the corner, which means it barely gets dark all through the night. I love this time of year when apple blossoms collide with blooming lilacs giving us the most beautiful flowers throughout June. There was a bit of rain and thunder this morning and we started our day with a green smoothie and coffee. The smoothie contains, oat milk, banana fresh mint, celery, apple and a handful of kale. Green smoothies are the best during heatwaves as they are packed with nutrients, antioxidants and minerals. Ps. Siena seems to be a little poser who just loves the camera.

Peonie Flower Crown

‘Endless summer nights & traditional flower crowns’

It’s midsummer’s eve tomorrow and there is a heat wave over Finland. I’m writing this post from the countryside, laying in bed and the sun is still shinning brightly up in the sky through my bedroom window even though it’s close to 10pm. I’m sipping on camomile tea and ready to write this flower crown tutorial. My husband and I came here with my parents last Saturday and yesterday my hubby had to go back into town, while I decided to stay here until next week. They promised +30 degrees celsius for tomorrow & I’ll be start my day with a swim in the calming lake, just how I also like to end my days.

Meanwhile, I usually love to use wildflowers for a flower crown, but because I had so many leftover flowers from my birthday, I wanted to utilize them before leaving town. My lemon thyme is also blooming like crazy on the balcony, so I used it’s little purple flower twigs in the wreath as well. I used eucalyptus as a base and used mini lily’s, a few peonies and other delicate blooms that I actually don’t know the name of. Now, make yourself a fresh mint tea with lemon slices and get creative…

Step 1.

Use a think florist wire to measure around the circumference of your head.  (see image above) Once you get the desired circle, twist the wire ends together to seal the circle. Repeat the process to get an extra layer of wire, this creates a bit of strength.

Using some thinner wire, attach the stems of the eucalyptus to the headband by twisting the thinner wire around the thickers one. Repeat the process until the headband wire is filled with eucalyptus stems. I think I used about 3 long stems in total, as you can see in the images below.

Step 2.

At this stage you have an eucalyptus wreath. Now, take a little bouquet of flowers together. (see pic below) and seal the stems together with the same thinner florist wire. Leave some excess wire hanging off the bouquet so you can easily attach this to the headband by twisting it tightly around it.This creates filling for the wreath/flower crown.

Take another flower bouquet and repeat the process and eventually you will get a full wreath. Voilá you have a beautiful summer flower crown!

Summer Chic Birthday Party

What a glories summer evening it was… I had an intimate gathering with my ladies to celebrate another year. I’m so thankful for all the friendships I have created along the years and with women like these around, we can get through anything. The day was sunny, we drank rosé on the balcony, laughed and shared stories until a few us went out dancing till the early hours of the morning. I can say, I felt a little rough the following day but it was all worth it as it was so much fun!

Since it was my birthday over the weekend, I want to share some of the recipes and maybe it will be of use to your upcoming summer parties. These tiny bites are great for garden parties or for long summer evenings out with friends. I wanted to keep the servings chic and simple, a lot of which I could make in advance, using lots of fresh flavours and a grand cake to solidify the evening. A little rosé, mint strawberry bellini and champagne served with an assortment of sweet and salty to keep the evening flowing without having to serve anything while my friends arrived. I made some smoked salmon and beetroot hummus canapés, summer salad bowls, smoked salmon pate, chocolate mousse, sliced melon with jamon Serrano and a rhubarb butter cream semi naked cake.

My hubby and I went to Hanko the day before the party and I gathered as much wildflowers as I could on our drive back home. We also did a little cake tasting and drank rose bub tea before the actual ladies party.

smoked salmon cream cheese canape with a dry glass of provence rosé is always a summer hit in our circle of friends!

New Potatoe, endive salad asparagus Summer bowl

  • New potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Endive leaves
  • Sprouts

Marinade the cooked new potatoes and chopped asparagus with grated garlic, olive oil, chopped thyme and cayenne pepper. In a frying pan cook the vegetables for about 10minutes. Leave to the side to cool. Mix the potatoes and asparagus with the chopped endives and sprouts. Add to little bowls and garnish with basil, parsley, black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Smoked salmon Canapés

  • Cream cheese
  • Smoked salmon
  • Dill
  • Black pepper/cappers

Slice the baguette and fry on a hot pan with a bit of oil until edges become golden. Add a bit of salt. Remove from heat and let it cool and harden.

Add cream cheese on the bread, a slice of smoked salmon, dill and black pepper. Sprinkle with capers in the end.

Beetroot hummus canapé

  • Beetroot hummus
  • Basil leaves
  • Blueberry
  • Black pepper

On the bread, add some beetroot hummus, a basil leaf and a blueberry. You can buy readymade beet hummus from the store or make it yourself from this recipe.

Chocolate mousse

  • 1 bar Dark chocolate
  • 200dl cream (whipped)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • Handful of strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy milk

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water. Once almost melted, add a splash of heavy milk to the chocolate. Meanwhile whip the cream with sugar until solid. Add the melted chocolate to the whipped cream. Divide into little glasses and add slices of strawberries into it. Place into the fridge for 3 hours until it becomes more solid.

Strawberry mint Bellini

Puree a handful of fresh strawberries and mint leaves in a blender. Add juice of 1 lemon and perhaps a bit of water to help the blender blitz. Stain the liquid through a sieve and into a jar to refrigerate. Serve with dry prosecco and garnish with blooming thyme twigs & ice.

Find the cake recipe from here.

Smoked Salmon paté

  • Salmon Mousse
  • 150g smoked salmon
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp crème fraiche
  • ½ lemon juice
  • Chopped dill

In a large bowl, crumble the smoked salmon with your fingers. In a food processor add the cream cheese and crème fraiche, lemon juice and black pepper and blitz according to your liking. (This can be done by hand as well) Add in the smoked salmon and pulse a few times. Stir in the dill and add into little bowls for serving.

‘Birthday Treats’

 

 

‘A June party requires wild flowers or a great set of peonies & homemade treats’

What an amazing birthday it was this year! First my hubby and I celebrated traditionally in Southern Finland in Hanko and on my actually birthday my day started with a delivery of my favourite flowers, aka peonies and an espresso in bed. Flowers make me so happy, its ridiculous. I later collected a bunch of wildflowers from meadows and had a little rosé party for my closest girlfriends. Of course I made another semi-naked cake (find recipe here)  although this time it had more layers and the filling was a mixture of white chocolate, raspberry curd and butter cream frosting. I attempted to make macarons 3 times, meaning that I possibly made 100 pieces and failed every single time! Although all my friends said they tasted purely amazing, visually they did not look like macarons. I have a feeling the problem was that I did not have a scale and perhaps my eggs weren’t aged enough. Or then I over whipped or under whipped the meringue but never managed to get the feet on them. I will share this recipe later on as they tasted super anyways.

The day was spectacular, surrounded with friends in a glorious white jumpsuit and lots of great moments throughout the day. June is at its end, garden parties and picnics are big at the moment, midsummer is in a few days, so I wanted to share some easy delights with you. If you are celebrating midsummer, the cake will be spectacular front and centre in the table while the little canapes are always welcome at any given party. The salad cups are perfect for a picnic that can be washed with homemade Bellinis. In June, pick a lot of wild flowers that are in full bloom at the moment or treat yourself to an amazing bouquet of peonies, as they are in season. Serve pale rosé from Provence, use a touch of highlighter to extenuate your sun-kissed skin and move your party outdoors, when ever its possible!

 

ps. the little tassels on the right are from Venice, just had to sneak in a picture of them as they are so beautiful

medow (1 of 1).jpg

 

bday canape1 (1 of 1)

 

bday canape2 (1 of 1)

Find the Thyme Bellini recipe here

Canape Recipes

Parma ham Peach puree  Canape

  • parma ham
  • tiny green mimosa leaves
  • peach puree (I used the excess puree from the bellinis I made but of course you can buy store-bought)
  • salt/pepper
  • capers
  • herb flavoured cream cheese

Caramelized apricot Paté Canape

  • caramelized apricots (dollop butter, teaspoon rosemary, 1 grated garlic, 1-2 tablespoons honey)
  • paté of choice
  • tiny green leaves
  • salt/pepper

For the base for both canape: slice some rustic baguette into thin slices and fry on a pan with some oil. Sprinkle with salt while still warm and leave to cool on a kitchen towel. This can be down a day before if you are limited to time.

For the parma ham canape. Begin by making the peach puree. I actually was making home-made bellini’s and during the sifting process you are left with a “mush of thyme peach puree”.  I saved the mush for these canapes. Find the recipe here: Peach puree form Bellini. Once the puree is cooled, begin by assembling the mini toast. Place cream cheese on the bottom, add a slice of parma ham and a little spoonful of peach puree in the centre. Garnish with tiny green leaves and grind black pepper on top.

For the paté canape: Begin by making the caramelized apricots. In a heated pan add a bunch of halved apricots, finely chop rosemary, grated garlic and a dollop of butter. Cook gently so all the juices are released and add a few tablespoons of honey. Let them caramelize and once ready, leave to the side to cool. sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. To make the toast, spread some pate first. Add an apricot on top, some black pepper and little green leaves.

bday (1 of 1)

bday canape14 (1 of 1)

Find the recipe for these mini blinis here

Country salad in a glass

  • shaved zucchini ribbons
  • arugula and green leaves of choice
  • white asparagus
  • basil leaces
  • new potatoes
  • radish
  • pesto

Pre boil the new potatoes until aldente for about 10 minutes. Once cooled, sauté in a pan with some butter, garlic and thyme. Add in the halved radishes and the roughly chopped white asparagus (remember to remove wooden ends) and cook gently for a few minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and let it cool.

In a bowl, mix together the green leaves and the cooked vegetables with a few spoonfuls of pesto. Add some chopped basil and place into glasses. Lastly, add raw shavings of zucchini that are rolled up on top as garnishing.

bday canape11 (1 of 1)

‘Easy Summer semi-Naked cake’

‘The perfect pretty summer cake’

The world is dressed in green, birds are nesting, the sunshine is like powdered gold and the world smells of roses, it’s June, the official month of summer“So let’s celebrate with the prettiest cake”, I say!

By far, these rustic stripped down semi-naked cakes are visually my favourite. The delicate minimal look is simply perfect at every level. I love all the flower decorations that you see on pinterest or ones that are topped off with berries, olive branches, herbs or some drizzle. They offer texture that frosting can’t replace and the exposed layers and soft garnishes look stunning and chic. Semi-naked cakes are perfect for garden parties, baby showers, tea party’s and of course weddings. I love a cake that is quite tall and narrow in diameter giving it a delicate shape. Today, a naked cake is a staple in trends and it leaves room for playing around with flavours you like, making it adaptable to so many seasons and events.

First-timer & succeeded! Even though I’m not much of a baker, I have been wanting to learn how to make a ‘naked’ cake for some time now. I finally took the challenge up and was pleased with the end result! This means, you can do it too! The cake does require a bit of organizing as it has so many components to it. The great thing is that some of the parts can be made in advance, which saves so much time, mess and hassle on the actual day of the party. The lemon blueberry curd can be made well in advance and it just intensifies in flavour after a few days. Also, the cake layers can be done before as they need to be placed into the freezer prior to the assembling process. Because I only used one cake mold, the baking process took a bit longer as I made 3 layers, which meant I had to bake 3 times. Of course, a more time efficient solution would be to have several cake molds in use.

“It’s all about the flavour”, they say. I wanted a cake to reflect the beautiful colours of the blooming lilac trees, something fresh but luxuriously sweet. The intense deep blueberry curd combines beautifully with the creamy butter frosting creating a vibrant hue around the outer layers. To keep it a soft white outer layer just making sure the blueberry does not spread out from in between. Do this by creating a frosting rim around the cake layer and spoon the blueberry inside, this way it is sealed. The layers are infused with vanilla and the rich buttercream frosting binds all the flavours together.  While eating a slice, I scooped more lemon blueberry curd on top as I couldn’t get enough of it! For decorations I wanted a natural feeling to it; blueberries, mint leaves and a few lilac flowers created a beautiful crown to the cake.

Basic facts about naked cakes to make your lives easier: Firstly, you need to freeze the cake layers before you assemble them together as this ensures no crumbs breaking off into the frosting. Generally, a good 6 hours of freezing is good. I did mine the day before and froze them overnight which saves an amazing amount of time on the day of the party. However, make sure the defrost a bit before cutting. To help cut even layers, I measured all four sides with a ruler and placed toothpicks on them to help keep the cutting straight. It helps to have a sharp serrated knife to level off the layers of the cake so they are perfectly even. Lastly, if your naked cake is tall with many layers, it needs a built in support. I’ve made a 3 layer cake and this works perfectly without support.

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for cake base (x3)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1dl sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 dl + 1 1/2 tbs flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla powder

* oil for lining the cake tine / milk when assembling the cake

Ingredients for Butter frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for Blueberry Lemon curd ( makes 1 jar)

  • 200 g frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • about 100g salted butter cubed (room temperature)
  • 1 dl sugar
  • 3-4 egg yolks

semi naked cake13 (1 of 1)

DIRECTIONS

Cake Base Directions (cake tin 16cm Ø )

Baking the cake layers:

In a bowl, add together the dry ingredients (minus sugar). In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy with the help of an electric whisk. Through a sieve, combine the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar mixture. Gently fold the batter together.

Pour some oil into the cake tin so the bottom and sides are coated, pour excess out. Pour batter into the cake tin and place into the bottom part of the oven for 40 minutes at 175 °C. Check the cake by inserting a tooth pick into the centre and if it comes out clear, it is fully cooked. Cool in cake tins on a heat rack (about 10 minutes);  remove cakes from tins and cool completely on wire racks for about an hour.

Repeat this process 2 more times to form three cake layers.

Freeze Cake layers:

Freeze cakes once cooled, as this process makes the assembling much easier. Wrap each cake layer individually in plastic wrap and freeze for 4-6 hours. This part is optional but it ensures that crumbs don’t break into the icing, so if you are short in time, freeze at least for an hour. If you freeze them overnight, give them a bit of time to defrost as they are hard to cut otherwise.

When you are ready to frost the cake, remove layers from freezer and unwrap. Level the layers with a serrated knife to make sure the surfaces are straight. I removed the top half of the cake layers as they were dome-shaped.

Now the next part you can do 2 ways: Either slice your layers in half so you get 6 layers in total. Or then just keep the 3 layers as they are. Of course the more filling you have, the more moist it will be. However, I wanted to keep just 3 layers and keep the cutting minimal.

Frosting and Blueberry curd:

Blueberry Lemon Curd Directions 

In a saucepan, add the frozen blueberries and lemon juice. Bring to a gentle simmer so that the blueberries become very soft. Mash lightly and press through a sieve into another saucepan. Place back onto low heat; add lemon zest, cubes of butter and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted and add the beaten egg yolks. (First I added 3 but ended up adding one more as the sauce was not thick enough) Stir continuously until the liquid begins to thicken (may need to raise heat but make sure eggs don’t scramble) If you are having problems with it thickening, you can always add a little bit more butter. But be gentle, it can take 10-15 minutes. Once thick, remove to another bowl to cool. Once cooled, place into refrigerator to intense in flavour and to set even more. Store in a jar, up to a week.

Butter Frosting Directions

With a handheld mixer, whisk the butter on high-speed until a pale colour and fluffy. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula twice while beating.

Turn mixer into low-speed and gradually add the sieved sugar. When combined scrape the bowl again. Slowly drizzle in the milk and vanilla. Scrape bowl again when combined.

Whisk on high-speed for about 10 minutes until the buttercream is extremely fluffy.

READY TO ASSEMBLE

Assemble the cake

Use your “ugliest cake bottom” for the base of the naked-cake. Save the prettiest bottom for the top part. Place a bit of frosting on your cake plate and place the first layer on top. This keeps it from moving. Moisten each layer with a bit of milk.

Fill each layer with buttercream frosting and blueberry curd. I made a rim around the edges with buttercream and placed the blueberry curd in the centre to keep it sealed. Repeat this process until the top and place the last layer “with the bottom half of the layer facing the surface” so it looks flat this way. Add buttercream frosting around the edges of the cake and scrape to almost bare with a sharp knife. Place into fridge (or freezer) to set the frosting before decorating.

When working with fresh flowers

Add the garnish closer to the party, especially if you are working with flowers that don’t hold their shape for long, like lilac. For this cake, add blueberries on top, the ends of mint leaves and the little flowers of lilac. If you plan to decorate with lots of fresh flowers like roses for example, it would be best if they do not come into contact with the cake. YouTube is very helpful for this, but basically just add toothpicks to your rosebud ends and wrap the stem with a bit of gardening tape. Press this into the cake. For delicate flowers like baby’s breath, they can just be loosely set in between other garnishes. Roses, some carnations, olive branches and baby’s breath hold their form very well! Figs and herbs are an elegant choice as well.

semi naked cake11 (1 of 1)

 

After we indulged, I allowed the remaining cake to rest overnight in the fridge and it held its shape perfectly and actually tastes even more moist this morning. So I would not see it as a problem, to make the cake in advance (minus decorating) if you are short on time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Blooming Apple Trees’

apple tree garden17 (1 of 1)

‘summer picnic under the blooming apple trees’

Over the weekend, my hubby and I had a picnic in an apple garden that was filled with beautiful fragrant white flowers. We sat in the shade, sipped on mint water and nibbled on buttery croissants with a beetroot cabbage dip. I made some asparagus fries and a watermelon salad that were perfect for a hot day. We walked around the park sipping on lattes letting Bella roam free in the grass. We have had two weeks of pure hot weather and the nature is showing it’s very best at the moment. All the trees are in full bloom and it is the best time to take advantage of summery picnics.

Hope this gives a little picnic inspo: Find the recipe for the asparagus fries here and the recipe for the watermelon salad follows: Mix together chopped watermelon, feta, mint leaves. Lastly, mix in some of the homemade pesto.

Easy Pesto

  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • pinch of Salt/ ground black pepper

Pulse in a blender into green delicious paste. Add salt and pepper to taste

 

apple tree garden15 (1 of 1)

apple tree garden14 (1 of 1)

apple tree garden10 (1 of 1)

apple tree garden12 (1 of 1)

 

 

 

 

Summer Party

‘It feels like summer is here to stay’

We had the start of a summer party this friday with a few of my girlfriends to welcome the warm long and light evenings. We spent time on the balcony (where I had just panted flowers and herbs) as the weather was so amazing, had some rosé and canapés and later went out to town. It was an amazing day, lots of laughter, happy tears and girl bonding! Everything is in life at the moment, the cherry trees blossomed last week and now the apple trees have opened into beautiful flowers. I’ve also kicked off golf season and summer has really sprung into full force in Finland. It has actually been one of the warmest country’s in Europe at the moment, which feels totally surreal. On Saturday my hubby and I took a drive to the countryside and had a picnic in a meadow and spent time on the golf couse and with Bella. During the evenings I’m craving for a creamy feta and watermelon salad that has lots of avocado and parsley. For the dressing, mix a bit of lemon juice, mayonnaise and tangy mustard. This is the easiest summer salad you can wipe up in a few minutes! You can also substitute parsley for mint and add pomegranate seeds into the dish.

Find the recipes for the mini turmeric blinis, from here. For the topping, mix together cream cheese and rich feta, chopped mint, lemon juice and black pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley and voilá you have a party treat, in no time! Have an amazing week everyone!

meadow2 (1 of 1)

meadow (1 of 1)

meadow3 (1 of 1)