December 7, 2012

It’s Christmas Time!

December 7, 2012
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For someone who doesn’t observe Christmas, the holiday season means another year will come to an end. Like in 2011, I will take a break from blogging until February. It is the darkest period with a few hours decent daylight, which makes photographing impractical. Instead, I will concentrate on recipe developing and, hopefully, come back with a renewed enthusiasm next year.
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I would like to thank you for visiting the blog, engaging in conversation via comments and exchanging private letters with me. I appreciate your feedback, and value your encouragement and well-wishes. Although I am a new blogger who is still defining an angle, you have been patient and understanding. I hope, I haven been able to offer something useful to you, too. With these traditional Finnish recipes, I wish you a warm and peaceful Christmas and a happy new year!
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Let’s start with joulutorttu (Christmas pastry) that is a palm-size puff-pastry, shaped as a star, flower or half moon. There is usually prune-jam in the middle, but any other preserve that tolerates baking will do, too. For the dough, I’ve used butter, flour and cream. Remember to keep it as cold as possible when rolling out the pastries! If warm, it will be impossible to handle.
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As for the instructions of how to shape the pastry as small flowers, please pardon, both, my visual and written aids! Unfortunately I lacked skills in making either of them clear. I guarantee, though, they are easier to make than it looks like. When you come to the point of having many small squares with slits cut on the edges and jam in the centre, you’ll be able to figure out how to fold them properly! Hopefully these instructions will assist.
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There isn’t a household in this country that doesn’t serve mulled wine, glögi, during the winter holidays. My non-alcohol version is based on black-currant juice and boosted with orange, lemon, lime, fresh ginger and warming spices. It is just the right thing to enjoy when coming home from a snow storm!
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I have already made three batches of piparkakku, gingerbread. I love the combination of ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Sometimes the cookies are made thick and chewy, sometimes thin and crisp. Usually decorated with a mixture of lemon juice and powder sugar, they are as beautiful to look at as to be eaten. I piped mine with white chocolate which is easier but not the best idea considering that chocolate remains soft in room temperature.
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I have found that the tastiest gingerbread cookies are made of finely milled wholegrain spelt. I wouldn’t use flour that has a volume of bran, though. All-purpose flour is commonly used.
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Here is a simple layout for those of you who would like to make a gingerbread house. If you plan and cut patterns beforehand, you will end up with functional architecture. The pieces are glued together with melted sugar. It’s a process that calls for swift hands! A tip you will like: decorate the pieces before assembling the house!
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This is my dream house. Well, except I'd like to have more windows! It would be a small clay rendered straw bale hut that has a loft interior with an open kitchen. Having a hearth, there would always be a faint fragrance of wood and camphor. The ornaments would be made of cow dung! How would your dream house look like?
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Stay warm, do good and be satisfied! See you soon, again.
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With love, Lakshmi

58 comments:

  1. Gorgeous treats and picture! I love that time of the year (winter & winter solstice), but despise the commercial aspect of Xmas...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. joulutorttu are so beautiful! I'll try to make them.

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  3. Wowoooo looks so so beautiful.

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  4. I love your posts, Lakshmi - every one is a work of art! The joulutorttu are completely new to me, but I look forward to trying them out!

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  5. Everything is just mindblooooooooooooooooooooowing..... Beautiful !!!!

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  6. Beautiful gingerbread houses. stunning photography.

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  7. so sweet and warming. Love it!

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  8. A beauty, a fairy-tale.

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  9. wszystko niezwykle piękne ,a domek zachwycający

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  10. what a beautiful gingerbread house. flawless. cookies look extremely delicious too. i have always enjoyed reading your blogs and has helped me look food, photography in a different angle. i hope you will have a great holiday and come back soon with delicious recipes and stunning photography!

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  11. Love the Gingerbread house and the detail..wow! I love your blog..and have a wonderful Christmas season. PS...I will picking up some oranges after work.

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  12. Your gingerbread house is amazing! I love every picture of yours!

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  13. OMG Lakshmi, this is pure magic! I'm floored by your creativity, and best of all the stunning photographs. The gingerbread house looks amazing, and I love the grey tone to all pictures here -- so seasonal. Wish you a most wonderful holiday season! Nashi x

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  14. Honestly, I can't get over how you can take such simple things, like oranges or yarn, and make them absolutely gorgeous. I love both pepparkakor and gloegg and can't wait to make some this year! Joulutorttu are new to me but they look and sound great. I hope you enjoy the winter and that there'll be enough sun to keep you sane (which is my problem, but I just got a light therapy lamp which seems to be working!) I look forward to your return. :) You're really a big inspiration to me.

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  15. I want Christmas at your house! This post is so fun!

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  16. Simply superb.Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

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  17. Lakshmi, thanks for your beautiful blog and a year of wonderful posts! You have a unique voice and vision and we're enriched by your talent, generosity, and enthusiasm.

    Stay warm and see you in February! Happy new year. :-)

    Danielle, Montreal

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  18. What a beautiful post, I love gingerbread cookies thanks for sharing your recipe!
    you are so talented, hope to find you back on this blog soon!

    Roberta

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  19. Your pictures and posts are, as always, enchanting. Enjoy your time off blogging and can't wait to see what you come up with in the new year!

    Roberta

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  20. What a beautiful house!
    I'll try you gingerbread cookies, I like them very much, but I've never tried to make them myself.

    Happy Holiday season!

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  21. Lakshmi, I have to tell you that your dream house is exactly how my grandmother's house is: "small clay rendered straw bale hut that has a loft interior with an open kitchen" And it has a wood fire oven for breads and cooking... Wow, you brought such a good memories... And this is a house I want to live in some day... Have a beautiful holiday season! I'll miss you though.

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  22. i love how you have captured the grey n whites of winter with your stunning creations! very magical, like out of fairy tale book :)

    i will miss your posts, Lakshmi! but i know you will come back recharged with some more stunning photographs n recipes that is just going to take my breath away, as....always :)

    stay warm n happy! happy holidays...
    much love
    Sia

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  23. I will miss your great recipes and beautiful pictures :) And I would like to thank you for a pumpkin soup recipe, that I adore. Before I didn't like a pumpkin soup.
    I also like combination of cinammon, ginger and cloves. And gingerbread.
    Stay warm and to the next post ;)

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  24. Fabulous photographs again!
    Loved all of them! :)

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  25. Each one of your posts leave me refreshed and inspired. Can't wait to see what you have in store next year.
    Happy holidays for you and your family.

    Cheers!

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  26. thanks for sharing ,beautiful images and christmas is such a wonderful time i just cant get enought of beautiful images ,have a wonderful holiday
    Valeria

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  27. What a wonderful gingerbread house and love the cookies too. Have a great break and keep warm. We have summer down here and I am enjoying the long evenings and being able to use the natural light for photos but it will be gone all too soon and you will have it again.

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  28. I love your dream house and your stunning pictures and styling. Have a wonderful winter holiday season!

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  29. Your photos are gorgeous!

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  30. Laksmi, this gingerbread house is so gorgeous, so beautiful, it is a dream-house. Congratulations!
    I will try myself on making one this Xmas too, yours will definitely be an inspiration.

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  31. this is absolutely gorgeous! I always loved gingerbread houses, but never dared to make one myself. time to give it a try!

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  32. This looks absolutely amazing! After seeing this pic I got inspired big time, thanks a million!

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  33. Much love to you and hope you come back with more inspirational moments, Lakshmi! It is the minimalism that makes everything you make stand out so beautifully. Happy New Year!

    Try and send some cold my way. We are still having terrible heat waves this year! :)

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  34. An absolutely GORGEOUS post! :) It is cooling me down (virtually) on a warm Australian summer day. I miss snowy Christmases. Thank you for the post. I love your blog. ~L

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  35. Beautiful pictures!!! love your post

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  36. That house is gorgeous and so very you -- happy holidays dear!

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  37. I started following your blog a couple of weeks ago and read all the previous posts. It's amazing! Wish you a Merry Christmas and look forward to reading your posts soon! Have a nice winter time!

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  38. What wonderful images to leave us with while we await your return. Wish you and your family a very Happy 2013.

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  39. Fantastic !
    So beautiful photos !
    I love your blog !
    verO

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  40. Enjoy your break! And Happy Holidays.

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  41. What do I say? Your gingerbread house looks perfect! Lakshmi..
    And your vision of a dream house is beautiful.
    Happy Holidays! Stay warm..

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  42. Your blog is beautiful, Lakshmi. I will miss it the next couple of months. I just made gingerbread cookies and decorated them like yours. Beautiful! I liked the idea of using white chocolate; I always try to avoid icing sugar.(I made my own cookie recipe which has buckwheat flour, sucanat and barley malt for sweetening, orange zest and fresh ginger.)

    Hare bol!

    Sara

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  43. I'm astounded by the quality of your photography. Just beautiful! Nicely done.

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  44. Beautiful recipe, Lakshmi. Looking forward to more delicious treat once you are back from blogging break. Happy Holidays!!

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  45. Such beautiful little creations! Thx for sharing!

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  46. Wonderful pictures! I love reading your posts and following your stories and recipes.
    Merry Christmas from Italy!

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  47. What a beautiful blog, such amazing photography and beautiful recipes. I am not vegetarian but this blog makes me wish I was. Wow.

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  48. Very nice Gingerbread house, my son would like to do it. Wery nice blog!

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  49. Can't take my eyes off the pictures of oranges on that rustic board! Could spend years in your lovely ginger bread house. A very happy 2013 and much love to you and yours Lakshmi.

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  50. Such an impressive gingerbread house. I was watching these being made on tv recently and I would so much like to have a go at making one.

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  51. All the images on your blog are drop down gorgeous!

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  52. Laxmi ur pics are absolutely divine , i jus love the simplicity & vibrancy each of ur pics portray !!!

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  53. This folding plan is wonderful! I love to read through your blog!

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  54. I love the way you arranged the objects to take the pictures!

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  55. This looks simply delicious, yet certainly too beautiful to eat!

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