January has been busy with our birthdays (mine & my husbands birthday are 1 day apart) and a big event with our non-profit Maker group. We have been going at full speed and it’s not until this week that we’re trying to catch up on lost sleep.
This is what has been going on in January (with the help of my instagram)
Many birthday cakes were made! The husband wanted something with lemon/raspberry/white chocolate flavour so I obliged and made him a Paleo Lemon poke cake from Beauty and the Foodie but replaced the blueberries with raspberries.
Icing was harder than I thought (getting coconut oil not to float to the top before drizzling on, hmm) but turned out great.
For myself, I wanted a small cake with many layers I could place in my birthday present from my husband. Chocolate could work as I had some leftover raspberries I wanted to use and so I found the recipe for Paleo Chocolate Cake from Super Glue Mum. I made this cake in two small round tins which fit in my new cake dome and turned it in to a four layered cake.
The cake was tasty, but very moist. So moist that it was a bit hard to cut the layers.
I realised I had some cream cheese left from a couple of days earlier (never really happens), so I made a cream cheese frosting with some honey, vanilla extract, butter and cream cheese that I spread on each layer along with some smashed up raspberries.
All in all, a great cake – but once I assembled all the layers the glass dome didn’t fit!
The plate in the foreground was some amazing chocolate chip truffles a friend of ours gave us during our birthday celebrations. We also had some left over trifle that our other friends had made for us but we forgot to put at the table when I took this snap.
I tried to finish many of my projects I’ve been thinking about for a while and these small pillows was a gift from a dear friend back in the UK. They just instantly brighten up our apartment!
One of our great presents were a cast iron pan from my sister. I had been looking at different frying pans for a while and considered getting an ordinary Lodge pan for birthday money received. Imagine my surprise (& confusion) when this one arrived in the post!
My sister knows me too well!
There was a chocolate festival in Harvard Square and oh boy did we get a lot of free chocolate things!
It was all amazing and delicious and the four of us were so pleasantly surprised. And then I was all chocolated out. One of the mini tub of ice cream is still in the freezer…
Our big event was scary, exciting and a lot of fun! We have a maker space for people in Cambridge and this was our first big event with speakers. We had a sponsor who arranged some amazing food and all in all it was a great experience.
This ring, I 3d printed, painted with one of my favourite nail polishes and glued on to a ring I bought cheaply from Michael’s. And then I completely forgot about wearing it…
Being so busy over Christmas, new year and January, I have completely forgotten about my knitting projects. This cardigan, I started with last year and didn’t have the urge to finish it until one my friends completed hers in three days. Almost there!
One of my promises to myself this year is to emphasize more on finishing my projects rather than creating so many I get overwhelmed. I have my many lists of projects to do, but will not start a new one before I have finished something properly.
So, January – jam-packed! I’m sure February will be even more amazing!
One of my new years resolutions/promises to myself is to incorporate more organ meat in to my diet. (Grassfed) Liver is one of those superfoods that has so much nutrients and minerals, that just starting with that would add so much goodness to my life. I have, however, a slight aversion to the texture and strong taste and am trying to come up with different ways to incorporate it without having to fry it up and eat it straight.
My mother was a fan of liver but neither me nor my sister could stomach it as young ones and she never tried to force us to eat it. We regularly ate bloodpudding which is, among other things, made with pigs blood. It is, however, also filled with lots of other things I now avoid (wheat and sugar) and is (because I’m now based in the US) no longer part of my diet. Liver pâté though!
Liver pâté is also one of those things I have grown up with, but the cheap supermarket version that you slice with a cheese slicer and have on your bread with pickles. Mmm, so nice for breakfast but is not the best meat/liver combination if you look at quality.
Therefore, I trawled the internet for a while before I found a couple of recipes without wheat. As usual, I didn’t manage to follow the recipe but it still ended up ok. I think next time I will only make it with beef liver or a mix with beef and chicken (the latter is supposedly very mild in flavour) as the pigs liver had a quite specific taste.
The butchers didn’t have lard the day I went to buy all the ingredients but gave me pieces of pork belly instead which I had to render myself. I was a bit worried in the beginning as I’ve never done it before, but there are several great tutorials online. It also left me with some wonderful cracklings in the end which I snacked on whilst cooking.
Simple Liver pâté
100g grassfed beef liver
100g organic pork liver
200g pork mince
200g pork belly which was rendered down
1 yellow onion
10 roasted garlic cloves
salt, white & black pepper
16oz/ 473ml Whipping cream without additives (pasturized – not ultra pasturized)
I chopped up the liver in small pieces that I fried with the onion until everything had browned slightly. I then added in the garlic, mince and poured over the rendered fat (lard) before seasoning with a squeeze of the anchovy paste and salt & peppers.
Once it all had cooked a bit longer, I added the mixture bit by bit in my vitamix, poured on some cream and blended to smooth mixture. In hindsight, I should have added less mixture as it became quite thick and made it hard for my blender. Once everything was smooth, I poured 2/3 of it in to 2 of my smallest bread tins before I placed it in a bigger pan that I filled with water. The water line came up to about 2/3 of the tins and I then baked them in the oven for 1 hour before I took them out and let them cool.
The hard part was taking the pâté out of the bread tin without ruining the bottom – perhaps I should have had some sort of parchment paper in the base to stop this from happening.
I poured the rest of the batter in to a ziplock bag for next time.
The pâté turned out really good for my first time, but as mentioned previously – I will try with different livers next time. I might even try it with been mince + pork lard which might even make it even milder.
As it’s only me eating the pâté, I took the two ‘loaves’ out of the pans, sliced them up and froze them all in ziplock bags. I left 1/4 of one tin out in a bag in the fridge for consumption that week and will take bit by bit out of the freezer when needed. Home made liver pâté don’t usually last more than 1 week in the fridge (provided you don’t leave it out on the counter/in room temperature for longer periods. This reduces it’s life considerably.
Home made spelt bread with pâté and pickles
Just before we moved over to Boston, I saw a fair bit of home made coasters on blogs and thought it such a great idea as we have sooo many photos at home. I bought some cork backings, printed out some photos via Mpix’s website (the hardest thing has been to chose which photos to make into coasters) that matched the cork. Or almost matched them, it turned out when we received the photos.
After some cutting of the photos, I glued them on to the cork with some Modge Podge as well as brushed the photo side with the MP to make it more durable. Searching online for a way to make the coasters properly water/heat proof has given me some mixed results so I will investigate further. In the mean time, I will continue to make layers and layers of the MP and to ensure they all dry properly between layers!
Since the summer, I have wanted to re-organise our tiny kitchen to make it easier to use thus easier to keep tidy. As it is quite small (thank God we have a larder for all the baking/food items!), I wanted to put up a peg board on one of the walls à la Emma from Red Velvet/A beautiful mess. So I bought a ordinary peg board from Home Depot, some chalkboard spray paint and painted several layers. And then we leaned it against the wall and never seemed to get around to putting it up. Not out of laziness, well perhaps a bit laziness. You see, the walls in our (rented) apartment all seem to have electricity running through them. Everywhere. It was proving tricky.
But we managed to put it up in the end (right after Christmas!) where I originally wanted it and now the kitchen feels so much more organised, tidy and it’s easier to have an overview of where everything is. And obviously it looks really stylish as well!
The peg board is finally up!
I was glad to have more time this December for Christmas decorations and tidying/cleaning up before people arrived for the holidays.
We actually bought a real tree this year (my husband has always had plastic so he was really excited) and since we already had to go to Target to get a foot for the tree, we also got two packs of decorations. I quite like the tree to be quite simple with lights and single decorations – no tinsel or lengths hanging off it.
Previous years, we have received ornaments from family and the ones that are more precious to us are the glass angel my mother gave me three years ago as well as the pcb Christmas tree my husband was given from his family.
Pcb Christmas tree ornament
I remember as a child that we always had several different ornaments that mum had been given at different stages of her life that she always cherished. There were several old-fashioned Swedish/Finnish ones made out of hay and linen as well as the fancier (which I absolutely loved) ones made out of glass. She initially had owned a whole set (8) of the glass baubles which all had white frosty dots on the outside, but more and more broke each year (she was always devastated and re-packed them more and more carefully each year) until there was only two or three left.
I hope that in 10 years, our Christmas tree will be filled with many different bauble from different times of our lives and we will cherish them as much as we cherish those memories and experiences now.
These are the decorations from Target that I still quite liked. The green ones remind me of old vintage ones that my grandparents had in their tree.
- Green vintage looking bauble
I also crafted two of my own decorations this year with plastic beads/pearls. You know the ones you iron on to fuse together?
I decided that to go with our hipster style, we needed some pixelated/8bit style baubles.
One in red.
And one in green!
The smell of the tree is absolutely amazing and the light from the tree on those dark afternoons and evenings sure makes a difference!