Totally Off Season Recipe – Lemon Muffins

I haven’t posted anything food wise in a while. Also, the days are getting shorter and I need a reminder that the sun will come back again for longer periods than now.

The following muffins I made about two weeks after we arrived here. PB had brought some lemons from his uncle’s garden in Sicily. They were innocently sitting around looking delicious until I decided to chop them up and use them in a dessert:

Lemon Muffins With Cheese Filling

The recipe is from the book I mentioned in the blackcurrant muffin post. Originally the recipe called for limes, but hey, lemons are close enough! I got into a bit of a problem for the filling, though, as it required ricotta. We didn’t find any in any of the supermarkets we went to. Then we started asking around. It seemed that ricotta was an unknown thing for Finns. PB started to worry a little, as he likes ricotta quite a lot with pasta and as a replacement for mascarpone in tiramisu. So for these muffins I used (low fat) Philadelphia instead (couldn’t find the normal one).

(Side note: full fat milk products are not all that common here. It seems that fat is really scary. Evidence? The full fat (meaning around 3.5%) milk is packaged in really red tetra packs.)

The result of the switching out of ingredients? Delicious! I think I might even like this version better, as the filling is creamier than the ricotta usually is. Oh, and to end the tale of the ricotta: last weekend we found some in the supermarket a bit outside town. And promptly I made tiramisu. But that’s for another post.

So, long story short, here’s the muffins recipe:

Ingredients
1 lemon
125g Philadelphia or similar cheese
150g sugar
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
100g light brown sugar
200g natural yogurt
90ml sunflower oil

Preparation
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan.
Grate the zest of the lemon and squeeze the juice. Mix the cheese, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Beat the remaining lemon juice and sugar with the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Add the dry ingredients until the mixture is creamy.
Spoon half the batter into the muffin pan. Add the cheese mixture to each cup of the pan. Cover with remaining batter.
Bake until well risen and springy to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cool before eating, as the cheese filling is very hot.

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Finally Some New Clothes!

After first not having time, then not having space, on to not having sewing-mojo, I finally got back to sewing. It became neccessary because I had a serious lack of butt-covering workout tops.

I’m sure those of you who know me for a long time had to go back and re-read that sentence. Yes, I wrote workout. I started doing some physical activity becides cycling. It’s nothing big though, don’t get overexcited! We’ll see how long I’ll have the stamina to do so. So far I really like it though, so much so that I even made an outfit. Well, just the top, but still. Here it is on Berta, the “perfect copy of me“:

Front view – I liked the cowl and the ruched side seam

Back view – Nothing special, really

I finally got around to making her a leg. She is now decorating our guest room, as seen from the last apartment update post. So far I didn’t take advantage of her being erect, thoug, as I didn’t make anything that needed fitting. The top above is number 130 from the Burda Style magazine 09/2012. It came together very quickly and easily and I already plan to make another one with fabric from my stash.

EDIT: I just wore it to yoga class (that’s what I got myself into) and it’s not really useful. The cowl keeps falling over the face in the downward positions and that’s not entirely helping me with the breathing…

The other thing I made is a very loose purple silk/cotton blend blouse. I will have to wear it with a belt or tucked into high waisted trousers, as it is decidedly sack-shaped:

Not very figure-flattering, is it?

Cinched version – a lot better

It was rather easy to make, but still took me two days to complete, because I made my own bias tape. I used Sarai’s (from Colette Patterns) technique, which is easy and in principle not very time consuming, but the fabric I used was behaving rather flimsily. Also, I got into a bit of a perfectionist mode and hand-basted the bias tape. Anyway, as usual the top is not perfect, but good enough for me.

Apart from those two tops I already started on a Sorbettoin the same fabric as the sack-blouse. It’s almost done, I only have to apply the bias tape. However, after the long time it took me to complete the other top, I’ll wait a little bit for the university workload to get smaller (read: after Christmas). It’s getting closer to the end of the semester and I have a ton of coursework to finish in the next two or three weeks. But I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t found a way of procrastinating. Here it is, the “Procrastination Project Fall Semester 2012”:

Knitting of all things!

To recount: Since I moved here I started spending hours and hours outdoors, started some sort of sports and now knitiing! What is this country doing to me?!

Extremely Short Trip

As the title says, PB and I went on an extremely short visit to the other end of Europe: Sicily. I enjoyed the trip immensely, as it’s quickly getting darker around here. It took us quite a lot of flying around to get there, though. As we were a bit late in booking, the direct flights (that is, direct from Helsinki) were a bit on the expensive side. In the end we found a way of flying to Catania for about 400€ each. However, we had to change airplanes in Stockholm and Milano, with one hour hanging around the airport in between. On the way down, we also had to re-check our luggage in Milano. In the end, it was worth all that, for the weather was magnificent! It was sunny all three days we were there, and I even got a sunburn. At the end of October! But see for yourselves:

Poser Alert! – In Front of Santuario Madonna di Montalto in Messina

You might wonder why we’re all dressed up. Well, the occasion of this trip was to attend a wedding, my first Sicilian one!

The Gorgeous Bride

Apart from the bride, also the setting was beautiful:

Santuario Madonna di Montalto – From the Inside

Last time I was here (two years ago) the church was closed due to renovation. I really like the colours, pastel blue and yellow are my favourite combination.

The wedding was really nice, even though (because?) I didn’t understand all that was said. After the ceremony we went to a garden location for the reception. There were flowers blooming and even some cactei bearing fruit. I was so absorbed by the delicious food that got served, though, that I forgot to take pictures of the setting.

The next day we took the opportunity to go to the beach. The water was still warm enough to swim:

PB Enjoying Himself

Apart from the birds there were not many other living creatures around. Some of PB summer friends came a bit later for a BBQ. I got sidetracked by the food again, unsurprisingly. In the evening PB organised a little surprise for me: I got to ride in my favourite car:

Fiat 500 – Cutest Car That Ever Was Built

That picture was just for posing, I didn’t really drive it. But one day I will own and drive a 500 myself!

The last day of our visit was dedicated to PB’s friends and family. PB’s Latin tutor took us up the hills behind Messina. It was beautiful, and crocuses were blooming everywhere! We picked some for PB’s nonna, with whom we stayed for the whole time.

View Over Messina – Plus Some Mainland in the Background

Of course we ate a lot that day. And of course it was delicious. I got PB to promise that we do something like this trip every year.

It was the perfect little getaway, with nice weather, people and food. I’m glad we did it, because the day after we got home this is what happened:

Our First Finnish Snow