... then you should head to the Rotermanni Quarter this Friday and Saturday for Estonia's first cheese festival:
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
My beloved maternal grandmother Senta turned 93 last week. NINETY-THREE. The digits 9 and 3 bother feature in my current age as well, meaning I have known my dear grandma for 39 years in total. She gave birth and raised five children - 4 girls and 1 boy. Now, at the age of 93, her family consists of 5 kids, 11 grandkids, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
She had to feed and raise the kids, run the whole household consisting of cows, sheep, poultry (all that in addition to having to milk all the cows in the big sovhoosilaut or a collective farm). And once the kids were all adults, she regularly had to take care of her 11 grandchildren who spent weeks at the countryside during each summer. A remarkable woman, and it's only recently that her mental and physical health has been failing her. She's a role model to me in so many ways (so is my paternal grandmother Adeele, who'll be 92 in September, but in very different way :)).
Here's a photo of my grandma and our youngest child, taken at the birthday party last week. They're 92,5 years apart:
My grandmother has been living with my parents for a few years now, and my mum asked if I could bring a cake to the party. Of course I could, and I decided to make this layered carrot and cream cheese cake that some of you were asking for and about after seeing it at Nami-Nami's 2013 Easter Brunch (see overview here). Here's the version I made last week, and before you ask, my two older kids were in charge of decorating the cake. That's why all the chopped pistachios ended up the way they did :D
The other two photos were made during the Easter, when I baked three carrot cake layers. The recipe below - and the cake for my grandma's birthday - had four cake layers - it's easier and more layers look more festive.
PS I've mentioned my grandma Senta on several occasions. Here's her recipe for an egg and smoked ham sauce, and she's the co-star in my post about the fermented oat flummery. She's also behind every story about Paluküla - the village where I spent all my childhood summers together with some of my cousins.
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Serves 12 to 16
Carrot cake layers:
500 g carrots
4 large eggs
250 g caster sugar (about 300 ml)
a pinch of salt
240 g all-purpose flour/plain flour (400 ml)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
100 g vegetable oil (about 150 ml)
Lime and cream cheese frosting:
400 g cream cheese, at room temperature
300 g thick sour cream
100 g caster sugar (just over 100 ml)
2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
2 limes, zested and juiced
Preheat the oven to 200 C/390 F.
Carrot cake layers: peel the carrots and grate finely.
Measure flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar (if using) into a small bowl, give the mixture a stir.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with sugar, salt and vanilla extract (if using) until thick and foamy. Gently fold in the oil, then the grated carrots and finally the dry ingredients.
Line two large oven sheets with parchment paper/baking paper (mine are about 32 x 35 cm/12 x 14 inches)*. Spoon half of the batter onto one baking sheet, and the other half onto the other.
Bake, one at a time, in the middle of the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until light golden brown and lightly springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and bake the other carrot cake layer as well.
Let cool completely.
Lime and cream cheese frosting:
Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and lime zest and juice in a bowl, and whisk thoroughly (it's easiest to use an electric whisk here).
Putting the cake together:
Cut both carrot cake sheets into two, so you'll end up with four rectangles. Place one carrot cake layer onto your serving tray, spread with one-fourth of the cream cheese frosting. Repeat three more times.
Garnish the cake with chopped pistachios and fresh mint or lemon balm leaves.
The flavour improves if you let it stand for a 3-4 hours in a cool place.
* If you want to bake three separare layers, then I used a 25x30 cm pan (10x12 inches), known as långpanna in Scandinavia.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for Nami-Nami/Kodu ja Aed, 2013
I know all my far-away readers - at least those on the Northern hemisphere - are feasting on rhubarb and early strawberries already, but neither one is ready for consumption here in Estonia just yet. The local rhubarb should be ready in a fortnight or so, strawberries in 5-6 weeks. Until then I'll resist buying the imported stuff. Pineapple, however, doesn't grow locally anyway, so I must buy the imported fruit if I want to enjoy some.
Here's a quick dessert idea, originally popularised by Jamie Oliver. You'll find the recipe for "Pukka pineapple with bashed-up mint sugar" - that so Jamie, don't you think? - either in his book Happy Days with Naked Chef or on his website. I've been making this for years, and it's not the first time it's been mentioned here on Nami-Nami - I was served at our 2009 Easter Brunch. A great idea, really quick, and again, suitable for many popular diets (it's gluten free, vegan, raw*, etc). Note that I gave up bashing up the mint and sugar long time ago, and simply sprinkle these on top. Works just as well.
* Use either a really sweet pineapple and omit the sugar, or use Sucanat or some of the other allowed sweeteners listed here.
Pineapple carpaccio with mint and sugar
(Ananassiviilud mündi ja suhkruga)
1 small, sweet and very ripe pineapple
2-3 Tbsp caster/superfine sugar
a handful of fresh mint leaves
Top and tail the pineapple. Cut off the skin and remove the "eyes". Then cut the pineapple into four wedges and remove the hardened core. Cut into thin slices, place onto a serving plate.
Chop the mint leaves finely, mix with sugar and sprinkle onto the pineapple slices. Leave to macerate for half an hour or serve immediately.
Pineapple carpaccio with mint sugar by Anna @ Morsels & Musings (same recipe)
Pineapple carpaccio with mint and rum marinade by Silvia @ Citron & Vanilla
Pineapple carpaccio @ Kitchen Delights
Pineapple carpaccio with saffron syrup and pinenuts @ MyFrenchKitchen
Pineapple carpaccio, candied ginger and lime by Anne @ A Foodie Froggy in Paris