Carrot and citrus pie by Inez

I combined recipes with my love for carrots and in the end I created a new favorite dessert pie.

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Halloween or not, this is a tasty pie and look at the orange color you get from the carrots!

It started with the classic pumpkin pie and I also tried the beetroot pie by Paul Hollywood. The later was a real disappointment. I had waited with baking it to make it a bit special. I loved the idea of using root vegetables in desserts and as this beetroot pie recipe was created by a celebrity baker I thought that there must be some guaranties. I learned how to blind bake the pie crust and then prepared the pie. It looked amazing and smelled really good. Then I tasted it…
First bite: anti-climax.
Second bite: still less than delicious.
Third bite: Nope, this is not doing it for me. I cannot eat that.

My German neighbor T was always up for tasting my kitchen experiments so I brought him a piece of beetroot pie. “Very tasty!” Wait, what?! Okay, so I guess I successfully baked the pie it was just not within my taste spectrum. It felt as a failure but at least I had learned how to blind bake a pie crust.

I used this knowledge for the crust to my citrus carrot pie, actually I borrowed the recipe from Hollywood and slightly altered it, but I recommend to use the original recipe as a start.

Pie crust

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together and put in a food processor. Add the butter in pieces and mix until the dough starts to come together.
  2. Take out the dough on a clean work surface and knead until smooth. Shape it into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Put flour on a clean work surface and roll out the dough big enough to cover the inside of your pie tin. Carefully transfer the dough to the pie tin and adjust it so that the dough lies against the bottom and the walls of the tin. Allow a little to hang over the edges, you should trim this off after baking. Also, you will probably get some left over dough, use this later for decorating.
  4. Blind bake for 15 minutes at 200 °C. ( If you don’t know how, you can probably find the clip on YouTube where I learned this from Hollywood.)

This is actually one of the best that I have tried for a pie crust, so even if it feels like a big fuzz with blind baking, it is actually a necessity when dealing with such wet filling as in pumpkin, beetroot and carrot pies like this. So, the carrot filling is my invention and I am very delighted over the result.

Carrot filling

  • 0.7 kg (1.5 pounds) carrots
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 dl (0.8 cup) white sugar
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • Zest and juice from 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 large eggs (of course organic)
  1. Peel, and cut the carrots into smaller pieces. Boil them properly in as little water as possible. It should just cover the carrots and the water should just simmer. Drain the water then run the carrots with butter in a food processor to get a puree.
  2. Let the puree cool then properly stir in sugar zest and juice from lemon and orange, vanilla powder and flour. Finally add one egg at a time.
  3. Make sure everything is mixed well then pour the filling into the pre-baked crust. Decorate the pie with left-over dough, preferably in a creative way.
  4. Bake at 180 °C for 1 hour. Let the pie cool.
Bon appétite!

The single superhero

Relationship status: single

This is not new, but I am getting increasingly bored from always being alone. I feel that the single life is more of an involuntary status and it would be nice having someone to hang out with on a permanent basis. But how does one meet a decent partner in this world of polished facades of people hiding behind their screens?

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I thought I healed…? o.O

For a very long time, I was not being serious about finding a life partner. Now, I feel like I have been hibernating for a few years too long. Well… I have been busy at the university and working on getting somewhere with my life. And, also, I have simply not been interested in “hooking up”. Seems like I somewhere along the way also forgot how to meet new people. (I guess something had to go when I made room for pharmacological bioinformatics… Okay, I will stop bragging now. 😉 )

Anyhow, I know what I want but where do I find that now?

I have started to look at it in a less serious point of view. So, even the bizarre is welcome, to a certain point that is. The other day, I went through a bunch of quizzes that pretty much speak against me getting into something serious. How about this: based on my Facebook posts I am twelve years old(!), I come from Delaware based on my vocabulary and I look French. Looking twelve might work against me in an adult relationship, otherwise I do not see any downsides so far.

Moving on. My secret identity is a superhero. As awesome it can get being a superhero, I can clearly check several traits off of the list: living alone, working too much and lacking a long and stable relationship. I am definitely a superhero! (Oh, and I like helping others…)

Another relationship quiz gave me a prognosis for the coming year:

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Wow, that is harsh.

I am not fully out of hope. One quiz let me know that I should marry Jake Gyllenhaal. I could live with that. ^_^ Though I doubt that he would want to marry a French-looking twelve-year-old superhero from Delaware.

 

The not so comfortable vacation

So, my regular phone charger broke when I was on vacation and I could thereafter only charge my phone while my car was running. Clearly it got a bit more tricky to use battery time for blogging since I had better use of it for navigating in national parks and looking up interesting things to do in the cities that I passed. Here you have the post that I almost had finished when the charger broke.

Sweden is an amazingly beautiful country. The varying landscape gives plenty of things to do and to see. So, when driving by car from point A to point B, it is almost a shame to go take the highway unless it is just for quick transportation.

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I chose to go into the splendid outdoors for my vacation. I wanted to see new cities and enjoy some time in the forests. Therefore I packed my hiking gear so that I could sleep outdoors too. If I would have a hard time finding a proper lean-to I could just put my tent up. I also joined a group on Facebook that have collected information about existing lean-to’s in Scandinavia. They have a growing map where the lean-to’s are pinned. This is how I found the places I tried to stay at. Yeah, I really tried.

In my latest attempt in sleeping in a lean-to, I found a great shelter to stay – I thought. It was in good shape, right next to a small lake and I got to have it to myself that night. What could possibly change my mind?

The weather.

I had changed my plans a few  days earlier since the weather was a bit stormy. When had it gotten better I went out to try another night in the green. The evening came and the wind got a bit stronger. I thought “this could be worse” and chopped some wood for the fireplace. I got warm from the activity and took a quick dip on the lake. COLD!

I got out of the lake and the wind had gotten stronger so I hurried to get dressed and built a fire to get warm. It was tricky to get the fire started because the wind blew out my matches as soon as I had lit them. It was a relief when I managed to get the fire going. Next up was to make supper. The best choice was to use my camping stove. Well, I was only trying to make some pasta but it was so windy that bringing the water to a boil was hard. While cooking I moved further and further into the back of the lean-to. It had started raining and the wind got stronger and stronger so the rain was blown all the way in to the back wall – or was it also water from the lake?

Wet it was!

Wet it was!

When the food finally was done, it was getting dark outside and I had put on all of my sweaters. I felt very cold and had realized that if I wanted to stay dry I should go sleep in my car. I packed all my stuff into the car and backed it up to a less windy spot. My sleeping pad spread out in the back-seat became my bed and I crawled into my sleeping bag. To get some privacy I covered the windows with a towel, a raincoat and a shirt. I have seen a few scary movies and the thought of being watched while I am sleeping creeps me out, especially in the forest…

The back-seat felt more comfortable than the driver’s seat at first but after a few hours crouched, some muscles started to hurt and I woke up. Trying to stretch out was a challenge and I now understand why putting people in small spaces is a well-functioning method of torture in several aspects.

The next morning, the storm had passed as if it had never been at all. I got only a few hours of sleep and my body felt sore so to properly wake up I drove to a nearby beach for a morning swim and to cook breakfast. Coffee first, and it was good. Then a swim… or not! I changed my mind as soon as both of my feet were in the water. Wow! Probably even colder than the night before. Instead, I got dressed and drove off to find a new lean-to to stay at. I took aim at one that I had read about. After a few wrong turns I found it. It was at a nice location and would have been a great place to stay if it had been in better condition. And no good spot for my tent. Just my luck… I guess the sleep deprivation made it hard to keep a positive attitude. If I had not been alone things would probably not have felt as hard as I experienced it at the moment. This was only a big struggle, not at all as relaxing as a vacation is supposed to be. If this is what they call a vacation – I am not interested.

At lunch, I called my mum and asked if it was okay for me to come back and recharge my batteries for a night. (Of course it was.) I also made plans to meet up with an old friend for dinner that night. It never before felt this good to return to that town.

Vacation 2016 – Stormy start 

Last Friday, I ​finally started my well needed vacation. Not a very calm start since I hurried to go visit the scout camp where my troop was. Being back at a scout camp felt great. I could not stay very long but I returned the next day to help packing up. 

Scouting always had a special place in my heart and being back as a leader is probably a great choice for my well-being. You know… You can take me out of scouting, but never take the scout out of me.

Next on the to-do list was to clean my apartment and pack for my roadtrip. 

Yes, I am on a roadtrip in Sweden. Travelling alone, but meeting up with people along the way. This trip is only vaguely planned. I have packed my tent and sleepingbag, and my goal is to just exist for a few weeks. You know, do what ever I feel like when I feel like it. With all the deadlines in my everyday life I really need this break. 

I literally had a stormy start. When I finally found a place to put my tent the wind was blowing so hard that I chose not to. I chose an uncomfortable night in my car instead – that is how hard the wind blew. 

The next day was cold and equally windy. Not very welcoming for hiking or outdoor cooking. My camping stove even blew off the table when I was making breakfast! So, I went into the nearby city Katrineholm. 

First of all, they have some weird streets. Instead of roundabouts they have some sort of triangular system of “give way”. Never seen that before… peculiar.

I went to the tourist office to find something to do. The staff did not approach me so I chose some folders and left. On my way out they cheerfully said “Bye!”. I am not from the region but still Swedish. I obviously do not look Swedish enough…?  Got me a good laugh, at least. 

By the way, I could not find any interesting indoor activity in that city (sad?) so I decided to continue to the next city for some outlet shopping. 

At the end of the day the winds got worse so I drove all the way to my mum and stayed with her for a few nights until the winds and pouring rain had passed over. 

And by the way, who put camels in the forests of Finspång?

Wide brimmed sunhat refashion

In May, I went to visit some friends back in Linköping. The weather was hot and sunny, well, we got a foretaste of summer, and I didn’t pack for that. As a member of the super pale community (ghosts would be jealous of my white/pale grey tones), I had to go buy a sunhat to avoid joining the red lobster with blisters club. So I bought a brown sunhat with a wide brown ribbon tied to a bow in the back.

I already had a yellow one with a white ribbon since last year and it is enough with one that is that feminine. I decided to remove the ribbon from the brown sunhat. I regretted it a bit when I realized that I was unable to remove all of the glue from the ribbon. It was from a glue gun so I even tried to heat it up with my hairdryer. It worked unexpectedly well but there were still some glue residues on the hat. Today, I decided that it might look good with some sort of ribbon anyway but without the big bow.

I started with digging out the old ribbon, but it was too much glue on it. Instead I turned to my stash of sewing materials and found a crocheted border, that I long time ago bought in a second-hand store. It was perfect, almost like it was made for this purpose. I sewed it onto the hat and VOILÀ!

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Since it is summer, my plants are in bloom. Yesterday, this one blossomed out. I do not know the name of the plant but it smells amazing in my living room right now. I guess this is something extra for me because I have not before, in my adult life, been able to smell most trees and flowers when they are in bloom. That is because of allergies from April to August. So, maybe the desensitization worked after all. Yay! 😀

Delicious Jerusalem artichoke soup

Recently, I made this amazing soup that tasted great even when reheated several days after making it. It started with a co-worker giving away some Jerusalem artichokes. I thought about the soup that was served as a starter at my sister’s wedding a few years back and wanted to try to make something similar. I consulted some cooking sites but since I didn’t have a complete setup of ingredients for any of the recipes, I decided to make my own version. This is it:

3 fistfuls of Jerusalem artichokes
5 potatoes
4 carrots
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
cooking oil
0.7 liters vegetable stock
100 ml white wine or diluted lemon juice
150 ml half and half milk/cream
100 ml liter crème fraîche
salt and pepper
persillade

  1. Fry chopped artichokes, potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic for five minutes in oil. Add the vegetable stock and let it boil for 25 minutes then mix it to a smooth soup with a blender.
  2. Add wine or lemon juice and stir. Add half and half, crème fraîche and spices. Stir and let the soup simmer for a bit.
  3. Enjoy! – Yum!
I impressed myself with this one - that is how good this soup is.

I impressed myself with this one – that is how good this soup is.

The petit lutin bonnet

My knitting have been slow. Seems like I have been doing a lot of vaguely defined ‘stuff’ instead. But finally, I have finished the baby bonnet I started at Christmas. The pattern is called Petit Lutin and I got it is from Drops Design. As always, I chose from the yarn in my stash and decided on the Mimosa yarn that I also used for my slipover.

I guess that the bonnet will fit a baby's  head better than the head of Fanny but you can see that the bonnet is super cute.

I guess that the bonnet will fit a baby’s head better than the head of Fanny but you can see that the bonnet is super cute.

The yarn was actually intended for a knitted hoodie that my mum was making for someone – who managed to grow out of it before it was finished. Some time later, my mum decided to stop the project and asked me if I wanted to finish it, or make use of the yarn at least. As you can see, I’ve used the yarn. I have plenty more so another project might pop up here with the very same yarn.

Anyhow, I need to hurry up sending it to the baby it is intended for. According to the pattern the size I made will be perfect right now, but babies grow fast… I am thinking that the perfect time for using the bonnet is at chilly summer evenings (or Midsummer’s eve which is well-known to be almost freezing cold).