Monday, August 22, 2005

Back in town

I am back in Edinburgh after a very nice, if hectic 10 days at home. It wasn't really a holiday in the first place (I gave a paper at a small symposium, so I spent a few days preparing for my talk, giving it and listening to other papers), but I did manage to put my feet up and relax a little. I managed to meet up with lots of my family members (some of them I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time, like this little fellow, Erkko Villem, who is my latest second cousin) at my sister's and my two nephews' birthday bash day after I arrived. I had the pleasure of catching up with many good friends. I got to enjoy sauna twice. I even managed to dip my toes (and those of my younger nephew, Ahti) into the North Sea, though it was a bit chilly for a proper swim that day.

Foodwise, the trip had a rather dissappointing beginning. This is what I was served on the early morning Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt - a lousy and extremely boring and unappealing cling-film wrapped sandwich. I know that economy class airline foods aren't usually anything to brag about, but this was an especially meagre offering. I'll know better next time and force myself to eat something more substantial and tasty before leaving home at 4am...

But things improved quickly when I got home. I ate loads of fresh and ripe berries at my parents' garden - raspberries were at their best (yes, Paz, even the yellow ones:), as were blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries. I was there just in time for the first ripe apples from the big "Valge klaar" tree outside my bedroom window - I had them raw, hidden in a cake and as a fresh jam on breakfast toast. My dad was showing off his skills with the grill on a couple of occasion. I enjoyed the new cloudberry&cream cheese yogurts for breakfast day after day without getting bored. I spent hours relaxing in the hammock outside the house.. What else could one want, anyway?

Here's what I'll be blogging about in the next few days or weeks, once I've settled back into my daily routine in Edinburgh and finished writing my next conference paper:

What do you do with such a large and unexpected pile of glorious chantarelle mushrooms?

Lazy hours in old and new cafés in Tallinn and why I miss them so badly in Edinburgh.

How to flash-salt cucumbers? (This is one of the nicest delicacies of late summer months).

Going ethnic - eating our way through the old Estonian manor houses and taverns on the north coast.

Product curiosity: Fluff or how to bribe your nephews in a flash..

The best 'pelmeenid' in town?

New ways with cheesy feet again:)

And possibly some more. Hope you'll be back reading soon. Until then, I leave you with the image of my home town, Tallinn, as it looked from the sky yesterday evening:

6 comments:

joey said...

Hi Pille! You vacation/semi-vacation sounded just wonderful! "cloudberry&cream cheese yogurts" <-- What is that??? It sounds heavenly!!!

Can't wait to hear all about it! Especially "going ethnic - eating our way through the old Estonian manor houses and taverns on the north coast"...oooh, the anticipation!

Stephanie said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip home!

Paz said...

Hi Pille,

Welcome back home!

From your photo, I can see the good effects of your sauna activities. Your skin looks nice and healthy. Perhaps I should look into the sauna for myself. ;-)

I'm glad to read that you had a good visit with your family.

That Lufthansa sandwich doesn't look appetisizing at all, but I guess it was better than nothing, right? ;-)

Thanks for the photo of the yellow raspberries -- I love it! Now I wish I could stretch through the screen and pick one from your hand. I want to taste it! ;-)

I like the airshot of Tallin. very nice. Also enjoyed reading about your apples from the Valge Klaar tree (Ummm.. is that an apple tree? You know I'll always have a question. *Big grin*)

Also enjoyed reading about your dad's grilling skills and the cloudberry and cream cheese yogurts. Yum! I still have to look for cloudberries.

I've recently set up a blog of my own and I'd like to invite you and everyone to stop by when you have a chance.

http://thecookingadventuresofchefpaz.blogspot.com/

In the meantime, I look forward to your upcoming blog posts. Good luck with your conference paper.

Paz

Pille said...

Hi Joey, Stephanie and Paz - I indeed enjoyed my holiday quite a lot. Actually I enjoyed it so much, that I even began wondering whether it's time to head back home on a more permanent basis.. We'll see..
The cloudberry & cream cheese yogurt was lovely indeed (it must have replaced the cloudberry & honey yogurt, as I could find that favourite this time).
I'm very proud of Estonian dairy products - we have a huge array of different curd cheese products that I grew up with and miss when abroad - small bars in chocolate, creamy pots in all different flavours, ricotta-style grainy ones that are lovely in cakes etc etc. Different soured milk products like kefir, buttermilk and flavoured sour milk are quite common on the breakfast table indeed and we don't really need any of those friendly-bacteria-inducing expensive supplements in Estonia.
Yogurt, on the other hand, is a newcomer in Estonia - we didn't have it when I was a child, and I guess it only made its grand entrance in early 1990s. I usually try lots of different ones, but recently I tend to stick to couple I really like. Last winter I woke up to a pot of roasted apple and cinnamon yogurt every morning - a perfect dark and cold winter morning combo, if I may say so. I've actually carried a carefully foil-wrapped 1 litre carton back to Edinburgh couple of times:)))
And now - to mark the glorious late August summer - it was cloudberry & cream cheese yogurt that headlined my breakfast every morning. Cloudberries were recently mentioned by Melissa @ The Traveller's Lunchbox in the context of her (and my:) trip to a Norwegian wedding - these berries are rather unfamiliar outside the Northern part of the Northern Hemisphere. This particular yogurt contains 12% cloudberry jam (also available in IKEA), and also some cream cheese. It's made by the local branch of the Finnish dairy conglomerate Valio. The result is slightly tart and rather creamy, full on tiny yellow-orange cloudberry bits (yep, even the seeds). I love it:)))
Paz - I have bookmarked your blog and will pay a visit very soon!

Niki said...

I have a fascination with the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, so this was a really interesting post for me! Thank you. :-)

Pille said...

Niki - you're welcome! It's nice to know that someone far-far away is interesting in my home region and immediate surroundings:)