29 Dec 2012

Bye bye 2012, I'll miss you!

2012 is definitely going to be one of those years I'll remember.
A year of surprises, adventures and many challenges. A year in which I've learned a lot about myself.
I loved, I cried, I dreamed, I worked quite much... but still, I tried to be a bit happier every day.

In the beginning of the year Oh! my cake was born. Against all odds the blog is still alive and has got 11.458 page views so far.

Italy was my home for 7 months. In Pisa I met wonderful people, learned Italian, forgot Finnish, slept in a vintage room, made a copy of Picasso and ate ice-cream like there was no tomorrow.


I also went skiing, worked on top of a cardboard box and found a little fox by the sea.


I turned 28 in Sicily, best birthday ever.

In the end of April I moved back to Helsinki.
The post-Italy depression hit me hard. However, I managed to (almost) get over it, specially thanks to my lovely friends and all the traveling.

I got into a plane 18 times this year and visited 6 different countries. 
The ultimate trip has been to Singapore and Malaysia. Tioman island was the best place to rediscover the silence and deal with the gelato abstinence syndrome. A pretty good therapy made out of sunsets, rainforest hikes, monkeys, sea turtles and banana pancakes for breakfast.


I also visited Menorca, Copenhagen and went back to Spain a couple of times. My summer was all about reading, floating on the Mediterranean sea, eating (and drinking) in good company and traveling around Spain by train.


Food has been one of the major themes of 2012. I ate so well this year, from Italian porchetta to my mother's delicious paella and everything in between (including bull penis and fried insects).

I made the ultimate Barcelona food guide, went to two Restaurant days and discovered few nice places in Helsinki.


Joulupukki brought me the most beautiful yellow KitchenAid (¡graciaaaaaas!), so there has been a lot of cooking also... I baked a wedding cake, made (and ate) tons of tiramisù, fresh pasta, cheesecake and muffins. I learned how to make ice-cream, cornetti, sabayon and bread.  


My friends made me laugh so much this year that I got new happiness-wrinkles... lots of dinners, saunas, barbecues, dancing lessons, love stories, sushi and tequilas. 
We also went to the ballet for the first (and probably last) time.


Moonrise Kingdom went up to my top 3 favorite movies, right after Amelie and Totoro.
My first Marimekko dress have brighten up many rainy days.

And just to finish the year on the right foot, I got to be a chef for a week, changed apartment for the 7th time, almost learned to skateboard and (finally) saw the end of the Lord of the Rings without falling asleep.



Thanks 2012.

Thanks to all the people that made me smile this year, that kissed me, that taught me something.


Thanks to everybody that believed in me... and special thanks to the ones that didn't, so I had the need to prove you wrong.

I'm a bit sad to say goodbye to 2012, but I really hope that next year is at least half as exciting as this one. Happy new year everybody!!!

19 Dec 2012

Open Kitchen restaurant is up and running!

Sorry I haven't been writing for long time, but my hands have been full of flour, cream and Carbonara sauce since Open Kitchen restaurant opened last Saturday.


To find out what on earth is Open Kitchen, you must come to Kellohalli and try our delicious menu.
We will be serving lunch and dinner until Saturday 22.12 (unless the world ends the 21st, in that case hurry up to come before!).

Not lucky enough to live in Helsinki? then check our Facebook page for daily updates and pictures or wait until it is over, I promise I'll write about every single detail.

6 Dec 2012

Join the food revolution!

When people asks me what to do when they visit Barcelona, the first word that immediately comes to my mind is: Eat.

If a couple of years ago someone would have asked me the same about Helsinki - I would have said: Drink... the word eat was far down in my what-to-do list.

Honestly, coming from a country where food (and socializing around food) is one of the most important things in life, I could not understand how I was going to be happy in a place where people were eating a 10 min lunch in front of their computers.

Once again I was proved wrong.
In just few years things have changed so quickly that Helsinki does not feel the same city anymore.
Many nice restaurants/bars/cafes have opened and I suddenly realized that there are tons of food enthusiasts in this country. 

Finland has also experienced the wonders of Restaurant day, which has given the opportunity for people to literally take the streets and show how much they care about good food made with love.
Restaurant day has clearly shown that food is one of the ways to make Helsinki a happier place.


But it does not end here... this is only the beginning of the food revolution.
A month ago I nearly fell off my chair when Antto Melasniemi called to tell me that I have got selected to participate in the coolest project ever: Open Kitchen
 
This is the deal: during the next 3 weeks I'm gonna be part of an interesting team of 12 lovely people. We are gonna be pretty busy learning how the hell you open a restaurant, planning and designing one... and eventually getting the chance to run it (for real!) during a whole week in Kellohalli. I couldn't be more excited!


Our restaurant will be open from the 15th until the 22nd of December. 
I really hope to see all your pretty faces there!!



2 Dec 2012

Christmas markets are cool

It has been scientifically proven (by me) that the best way to combat the cold/dark December days is by lighting some candles, drinking glögi and getting ready for Christmas.

As a good fan of slow shopping, I really enjoy checking out the Christmas markets.
One of my favorites is the Tokyo Christmas Sale, organized by the student association of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (TaiK)


I was there this morning and there were so many nice things that took me forever to decide what to buy... Eventually I went home very happy (despite the -12ºC) with a couple of super cute prints, a reflective robot and a little present for my sister.

1 Dec 2012

If I cannot have a cat, I want a fake window

I love the cozy feeling of being at home while it is raining (as it often is in Helsinki).

A good rain storm is the perfect excuse for staying indoors the whole day reading or watching movies. I usually get super restless if I do that when the sun is shining... but it feels better to be home when it's raining (it needs to rain quite a lot), because I know that I'm not missing anything outside.

That's why I would like to get this wall sticker as a replacement of the cat I will never have.

from Chispum

... to allow myself to be lazy sometimes, even if it is not pouring outside.


However, I would also need a no-rain window on my other wall, for those autumn weeks that does not stop raining in many, many days... and you have no more books to read.

from Chispum

You can get these pretty vinyls from Chispum, they deliver worldwide!







Wondering where to find other cool stuff made in Barcelona?
Check the most awesome souvenir guide to Barcelona!


22 Nov 2012

Restaurant Day quicky

Last Saturday was Restaurant Day in Helsinki!
The weather did not really cooperate, as usually happens in November, but rain has never been enough reason to stay home when there is good food out there.

My favorite of the day? Tokyo kitchen!


Reason number 1: There was a damn cute "owner" that made me smile.


Reason number 2: They loved my Totoro wallet.


Reason number 3: The salmon rice balls were delicious!!

Cannot wait for the next one in February... hopefully -20ºC are still not a good enough excuse to stay home :-)

17 Nov 2012

Great love stories not only happen in the movies

I usually don't write about romantic stuff, but I needed to share this one with you.
It is going to be my small tribute to love, I hope it inspires you as much as it inspired me.

For many years I believed that every little thing in life happens for a reason... after hearing the love story of my dear friend Daniela, I'm absolutely convinced that destiny exist.

However, I am not talking about the seat-and-wait-that-your-dreams-come-true kind of destiny... I believe about another form of fate, the one that gives you all the pieces from the puzzle, one by one, but you are the one that needs to figure out what to do with them.

(It is probably going to sound like a movie plot but I promise upfront that I'm not making it up)

Daniela is from Argentina.
Back in 2003 she worked in Buenos Aires airport, at the check-in desk.

from here
It was a hot summer morning and her shift was supposed to finish at 10:00 a.m. the temperature was already pretty high so she decided to stay at work (with air-conditioning) a bit longer, instead of waiting for her bus outside.

11 Nov 2012

Un cornetto per favore!

I have been craving for an Italian cornetto for months.
One of those I ate every morning at Cafè Matisse before going to work, accompained by a cup of oh so good cappuccino.

It is funny that the cornetti you get in the bar are actually different than the ones you find at the bakery. The cornetti da bar are more like a brioche, less buttery than the typical french style croissant.



On Friday I was sick and bored so I started a thorough brioche cornetti research.
I eventually found a nice and not so difficult recipe from Viva la Focaccia and I had to give it a try.
The results were quite good, not as delicious as Cafè Matisse but almost.
I hope it makes your morning!

Cornetti da bar

Makes 16 cornetti.

Ingredients 


PASTRY
  • 500 gr flour (I used refined pastry flour) 
  • 50 gr butter (room temperature)
  • 25 gr fresh yeast
  • 150 gr milk
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla arome
  • 1/2 lemon zest (grated)
  • 2 Tbsp of powdered sugar for dusting

FILLING (optional)
  • 150 gr dark chocolate (or Nutella, marmalade, etc.) 

Making the dough


Warm up the 150 gr of milk a little bit (c.a. 30ºC), remove from the stove and add the yeast. Mix until it dissolves completely. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix 500gr of flour with the 150 gr of sugar. Add the lemon zest.

Cut the 50gr butter into small pieces and add it to the mixture.

Add 2 eggs and the milk, knead until it does not stick to your fingers.
You can either do it by hand or - if you are as lazy as I am - with the help of a stand mixer (I used my lovely KitchenAid with dough hook attachment at medium speed about 10 min.).


Rolling the dough


1. Separate the dough in two parts and make two balls out of it.

2. Put the balls in two airtight containers and let it set for 2 hours at about 30ºC (my home is around 20ºC so I placed the containers in the oven at minimum temperature).


Now comes the funny part, how to actually roll the dough into croissants:

3. Dust one of the balls in flour and roll it into a circle like you will be making pizza.


4. With the help of a sharp knife, cut it into 8 triangle shapes as shown in the picture below.



5. Add a piece of chocolate in the widest part of the triangle.

6. Brush the narrow part of the triangle with a bit of water.



7. Take the bottom of the triangle and tightly roll it up into a croissant shape.
Repeat steps 3 to 7 with the other ball of dough.



8. Let them set for 3 more hours at room temperature, leave enough space between the cornetti because they will double its size. You can skip this step if you are planing to freeze them*.



* in that case just put your beautiful cornetti straight to the freezer. Whenever you feel like eating them, take the frozen cornetti out from the freezer the night before and let them defrost overnight at room temperature.  


Baking


Set the oven to 180ºC.

Whisk 1 egg yolk with a bit of milk.
Place the cornetti onto the baking tray and brush them all over with the egg mix.

Bake for about 15 min. (or until they are golden brown)
Let them cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.



Eating


I had to wait 5 months but I finally was able to enjoy a perfect Italian breakfast in Finland.