Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin cheese-cake!

I continue sharing my recipes about pumpkins. In Autumn, I always try to use everything which comes from the garden - either my own or my relatives. I got a huge pumpkin from my brother in September, and now it's almost finished... Tomorrow, I'll make the pumpkin pie once more to go to visit my little niece and then... I have to wait for the next Autumn when I can make some pumpkin meals again!
This pumpkin pie is highly evaluated also by my best friend Kristi (who is a great cook) - it's worth to try for sure!

200 grams of Digestive biscuits
75 grams butter
2 tablesppons sugar
500 grams natural cheese (Creme Bonjour) (maitsestamata toorjuust
3 dl sugar
500 grams of pumpking (cut to pieces
1 3/4 dl sour cream (hapukoor)
2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
4 eggs
To cover:
2 1/2 dl sour cream (hapukoor)
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
To decorate: Creek walnuts

How to do it? Heat your owen to 200 degrees. Crush the biscuits and mix it them with melted butter and sugar. Press the mixture to the bottom of the open cake-tin and bake in the owen for 10 minutes.
Heat the pumpkin cubs in the pot in low heat until the liqued has vanished. Stew the cubs until they are soft and make a puree of them. Beat up the natural cheese (Creme Bonjour) and sugar. Add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, vanilla sugar, cinammon and sault. Add piece by piece also eggs.
Pour the mixture to the cake-bottom and bake it in the owen of 175 degrees for about 1 hour.
Beat up the sour cream, sugar and vanilla sugar and grease it to the cake, bake for 5 more minutes. Then cool the cake.
Before serving, keep the cake in the refrigerator as long as you can, minimum for 6 hours, but overnight is even better.
Decorate with walnuts and eat it! Your friends will like it for sure!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to Minna - my Finnish friend

We all hope that Minna is having a great birthday today! Welcome to the group of "Ladies in their 30's" now! :)
I and Erik are very sorry for not being able to participate in her huge party on Saturday, but we are keeping fingers crossed that all will turn out like Minna has planned and that it will be a fabulous night!

PS - This is the birthday card I made for Minna....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crete - the Island of Dreams

"Out in the dark blue sea there lies a land called Crete, a rich and lovely land, washed by the waves on every side..." --- The Odyssey

Crete island is the largest of Greece and is located in the south of the Aegean Sea. It inhabitants about 630 000 people and is 8336 km² large.

The tourist guide says, that Crete has everything to offer: mountainous landscapes, a coast with many beautiful beaches and rocky coves, beautiful towns and charming villages and harbors, excellent food, ruins of the Minoan Civilization, one of the greatest civilization ever, an exciting nightlife - hence it's called "the Island of Dreams".
I and Erik visited Crete in the end of September and beginning of October (I due to work and Erik just enjoyed a free week from work). Unfortunately we couldn't experience all the things Crete has to offer, but indeed it was a lovely island, though quite touristic (at least in the area where we stayed). But we loved our apartment, the beach, the nice warm days (compared to Estonian during this time of the year) and olive trees :).
OUR VILLAGE - Koutouloufari in Hersonissos
My Conference took place in Hersonissos which is a very, very touristic area. You can walk in the main street near the beach with loads of other tourists and enter all kind of different tourist shops and sit in loads of different restaurant, seeing many hotels everywhere. Luckily our accommodation was outside of this touristic area - in Koutouloufari village which lies on the foot of Mount Harakas. It had a beautiful view over to other places and the little village was just lovely. I booked our apartment from internet and both I and Erik were very satisfied with it.
Photo: The view from our apartment.

Photo: Our apartment situated in the house in the middle, on the first floor.
Photo: Our pool next to the house. But the water was quite cold... Once I went swimming there (dark in the evening) and I stayed in the water only for a few minutes... The Mediterranean Sea was warmer :).
Photo: Lovely blooming trees in our village :)
Photo: This is how our apartment looked inside.
Like in other parts of Creece, you see a lot of blue colour in Crete as well.
Why Creek people like blue so much? The preference comes from an old belief of man, that the sky-blue shade had the power to keep Evil away. The radiation of the color composes an invisible shield, which prevents the approach of bad spirits.
That's why you see blue colour in the streets of Crete!
Photo: Blue is represented also in the flag of Creece.
Photo: Those white houses with blue windows are so romantic...

Photo: An open-air caffe place with blue chairs and tables.

Crete island is very mountainous. Deep gorges split its huge mountains (Lefka, Ori, Psiloritis, Dikti) leading to lovely valleys.
The Creten people say only one is the gorge and they are referringo of course the the famous Samaria gorge which is Crete's pride, as no such other exists in Europe. They are right, but this time, I and Erik couldn't visit it (I wasn't feeling the best during the days in Crete and we thought that we'll go to Samaria - the 18-kms-long-hike next time when we visit Crete). But we still wanted to do a hike as we always do it while being abroad. So we decided to go to Imbros gorge. It's certainly much smaller than Samaria, but also well worth seeing as it's very picturesque and full of wildness. We loved the hike though it was far too easy for us!
Photo: Entrance to Imbros Gorge. You need to pay 2 euros to hike there.
Photo: I in the start of the hike.
Photo: Some places in Imbros Gorge look like that... Quite stony! Photo: I and Erik in the middle of the hike.
Photo: Erik in a small cave.
Photo: The narrowest place in the gorge - 1.60 m wide.

Photo: Even when the day wasn't totally sunny, Erik hoped to get some tan already there...

Photo: I in one of the dark places in the gorge.

After doing the hike, we went to swim in Frangocastello - it is know for its Venetian castle and being unusually flat area for Crete there are nice beaches. One of which we visited, too, and had a nice swim in the Libyan Sea.
Photo: The Venetian Castle and the beach in Frangokastello.

Photo: Some lovely blossoms in Frangokastello...

Each morning, we took a 40-minutes-walk to Hersonissos, when I went to the Conference and Erik went to the beach. It was so lovely to have a fresh start for the day, and enjoy the small walk in the narrow streets of our village.
Photo: The start of the day in fron of our house.
Photo: My Conference Centre.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My little niece :)

My little niece was born in October 08, 2008.
I'm an happy aunt now :).
Today, we went to visit her for the first time. She has been sleeping all days long, but today, when we visited her, she was awake the whole time, we could see her looking at us and I could even hold her. She's such a lovely skinny tall girl - will be either a high jumper or a model :).
So far, the name of the newborn remains unknown.

Photo: Kert, I and Erik visiting my niece in the hospital, she's 3 days old.

Photo: A card I made for her - as she's born in October, I thought a pumpkin girl suits well :).

Photo: Some of the clothes I gave to her. Among them, there's a pink flowered blanket which is a gift of my American penpal Cindy to my niece. Everyone thanks her for this lovely soft warm blanket :).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkin soup - mmmmm....delicious!!!

Hello friends! As Autumn is here, and soon it will be Halloween and you can see pumpkins everywhere, then I thought I'd share the recipe of the favourite soup of our family. Each Autumn we wait for the time when pumpkins are ready and I can make a big pot of pumpkin soup. It's worth to try!


1 kilo cleaned and peeled pumpkin
0.75 litre water
1 cube of chicken stock
4 potatoes
4 apples
1 onion
200 gr smoked cheese
150 gr ham
100 gr butter
1 tablespoon of curry powder

Cut the pumpkin to small cubes. Peal apples and potatoes and cut them to cubes as well. Chop the onion and fry it together with 50 g of butter, curry powder until the onion slices look glassy. Then add pumpkin cubes and fry them lightly. Boil the water, add the cube of chicken stock and then add the fried pumpkin cubes. Boil it for a few minutes before adding first potatoes and then, finally apples. Boil until everything is soft, take the pot from fire and add 50 gr of butter. Aftewards mash everything with the handblender (stabmixer). Pour the soup to the bowls and
serve together with ham slices and grated smoked cheese.
And now, eat together with cheese-bread, garlic-bread or anything similar!