Monday, June 25, 2007

Jaaniõhtu 2007 - St John's Night 2007

The shortest night of 2007 is behind us, and I'm pleased to say I had a lovely time in Lalli village in Raplamaa. Before the night's festivities began, I found my first porcini mushroom of the year (above) - an early brown birch bolete (Leccinum scabrum, Birkenpilz) and between the two of us managed to pick a good kilogram of wild strawberries in just over an hour. Wild strawberries vol. 2007 deserve a separate post of their own, so click here to read :)
After visiting my uncle in Paluküla and one of my first cousins in nearby Kädva, we returned to Lalli just in time for the traditional village bonfire celebrating the shortest night of the year, The bonfire was held on their traditional bonfire site - Sonni hill. Not the most dramatic location, but extremely peaceful and beautiful nevertheless. The party began around 9pm, and there were 14 people in total, aged 9 to 90, with couple of dogs to boot. Here's a picture taken from the bonfire site from 9.30 pm, and it's still rather light:

And almost the same view half an hour before midnight:

Dark, but still not too bad, is it? As we walked home across those fields around 1am, without any flashlights, and I was giggling when I saw my sneakers in the dark. Althought summer nights in Scotland are light compared to the ones in Southern Europe, I had still forgotten how much lighter they are at home in Estonia..

There was some singing, and lots of chatting and catching up. And of course there was lots of food. I had made a selection of small sandwiches to take along: small rye bread squares with garlicky cheese filling, classic sandwich triangles with egg & cress mayo, and some with tuna & tomato filling. Additionally, I brought along two types of muffins, adapting my recipe for moist rhubarb muffins to make pear & ginger muffins and apple & cranberry muffins. From the market, we picked up some day-old salted cucumbers and a huge Italian watermelon, and other people had brought along lots of different sausages for roasting over the flames. Our 'BBQ' was one of the very rustic ones:

You see the two sticks on the right, with chunks of meat stuck on them? Well, that's my improvised rosemary-lemon-honey lamb, which seemed to be much more popular than the various sausages, I'm pleased to report :)

And here's what's left of the big fire at 1 am, just before we left..

BLAST FROM THE PAST: A year ago I spent St John's Night on Santorini, in Greece, where my friends Annemieke and Georgios got hitched. You can read about breakfasts with fabulous views here and dining on Santorini here. Two years ago I was hosting my parents, sister and older nephew in Edinburgh, as they had flown over for my graduation ceremony.


Alanna said...

Better than the sausages? No way! Lovely, that light, yes. When I lived in Finland and we spent some weeks on a small island near Sorsavesi, I could read at night, inside, with nothing but light from the window. Lovely post, thanks for all the photos and descriptions.

K & S said...

what a beautiful outing!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Oh how lovely! I grew up in Fife, and I remember the lightness and the late night bonfires on the beach, but this is truly magical!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That setting looks pretty grand if you ask me. And the food sounds wonderful. I'd go for the lamb!

Ülle said...

Ohh, jaanituli Eestis toob ilusaid mälestusi meelde!(Siin muidugi sadas meeletult palju) Metsmaasikad teevad kadedaks. Et Sul õnnestus neid nii palju korvi saada, mul oleksid nad kohe suhu kadunud.

neil said...

What a great night you all had. Love the look (and sound) of wild strawberries, would love to try some but will have to be content with your upcoming post. Lucky you with your first porcini, they don't grow here in Oz, I also saw your morels, you two are doing very nicely!

bea at La tartine gourmande said...

Oh this is so nice! I wish I had been there. One of these life things I have not yet done, but it is on my list (and I am talking about the midnight sun!) ;-)

Zarah Maria said...

Ah Skt. Hans! I was stuck in the national arena for a Justin Timberlake concert - which was great, but I somehow wished I could have had a nice time in front of a bonfire instead... Am I getting old?:)

joey said...

What a great bonfire and what magical photos! I would definitely have swiped some of that lamb ;)

I have experienced Helsinki in the summer and it was something like this...except me lying in bed eyes wide open and sun streaming through my window! :) It was wonderfully exciting for me because I had never experienced anything like it before :)

Pille said...

Alanna - yep, better than sausages (which weren't bad at all, so it's just that lamb was so good:) Sorsavesi is a place I'm yet to visit, but I'm glad to hear that you've enjoyed midnight sun in your life!

K&S - indeed!

Figs Olives Wines - I though the nights were light in Edinburgh, but now I realise how much lighter they are here in Estonia (we're on the same latitude with Orkney islands, so way up north if you look from Edinburgh and Fife!)

Tanna - lamb was good!

Ülle, ära muretse, suhu läks ka hulgaliselt metsmaasikaid. Kohe niiii palju, et enam ei mahtunud:)

Neil - we are, thank you:)

Bea - I think midnight sun should be in the to-do list indeed!

Zarah Maria - I don't think you should worry. Anyone visiting Justin Timberlake concert in the first place is still in their late teens, at the most :)

Joey - those are nice memories from Finland..