Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kitchen craft: mead and mulled wine

On December 23 me and my husband finally got around to bottling this year's mead and glögg. Or as perhaps I should say, mulled wine. Finally! We carefully cleaned lots and lots of bottles, thinking that NO WAY we would need all of them. Hah!

The mulled wine (which I will continue to call glögg, as it is called in Swedish, since I really don't care for the english term. After all, there is no actual wine in our glögg!) was made after the same recipe as always, which you can find right hereThe result: marvellous glögg, strong and flavourful. Not sweet as the store bought glögg people are used to, but something entirely different and much much better. Here served with almonds and raisins, as is traditional.
Moving on to the mead! This time we had three batches of mead to bottle, one large batch with the "regular" honey-and-water mead and two experimental batches. The regular mead, light yellow and gorgeous in every way, you can see in the pic below. The taste is by far superior to our earlier batches, and as always it is devastatingly high on alcohol.
The two experimental batches were the real surprise of the day. The one you can see below, red and gorgeous, is heavily flavoured with wild raspberries that I picked this summer. The second batch, which unfortunately I forgot to photograph, is flavoured with blueberries and a pinch of vanilla. 
The two experimental batches turned out very different. The blueberry mead is just awsome, with a mild blueberry taste and a pinkish colour. The raspberry mead is something else entirely. It's much more acidic, and when mixed with a bit of extra honey (which in this case is preferable) it tastes almost like a candy liqueur. 

I'd like to end this blog post with some other pics from our home this winter. The snow just keeps coming! Though it's not as cold as some other parts of Sweden (they had -40 degrees C up in the north just the other day...) it stays below zero and thus the snow remains. Yippie! Oh how I wish it will stay like this until spring. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blogsphere frustration!!!

Waargghhh! What's up with all of these (mostly american) blogs that claim to be about crafts and homesteading but that in reality seem to be all about religion?!

Yeah, so I'm a bit irritated. I've been surfing around the blogosphere looking for interesting craftsy homesteading blogs, and there sure are a lot out there. However, time and time again blogs with potential (as I see it) fall flat because the writers feel the need to include God and Christianity in every other sentence. 

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with religious people in general. In fact I am rather spiritual myself, but since this is a blog about HANDICRAFT I have no desire to rub my personal faith in your face. (For that I could write another blog, where people who are interested in my faith are welcome to read all about it but where they don't need to suffer through recipes and pictures of crafty stuff.) But apparently the (mostly american) blogging community that is devoted to crafts/homesteading issues can't help themselves, they just gotta show in each and every blog post that they are good Christians and just how much they love Jesus. Seriously dudes, everything doesn't have to be about religion. I understand how important your church is to you, but wraaararrrhhh!

So now you might just be thinking "well, nobody is forcing you to read those blogs so stop complaining!" and yea sure, you've got a point. The thing is there is so much great and wonderful stuff out there in those blogs, so many ideas and recipes and designs and plans and and and... I want to read those blogs because yeah, they're packed full of stuff I'd be interested in. I just don't wanna also get hit over the head with a religious stick in 99% of the times, it's horribly distracting. If I wanna read about religion I'll go to a blog about religion. If I go to a blog about arts and crafts I'm in it for the - wait for it... - for the arts and crafts! It's like borrowing a romance novel from the library but being told that you must also read this or that sci-fi novel, otherwise you won't be allowed to read the book you really came for. A tad bit annoying. 

Aaaand breeeaathe...

Do any of you get what I'm talking about or am I just rambling? Any suggestions on good homesteading blogs that are NOT so extremely focused on religion? 

And finally, I'd just like to say to anyone who might feel like this is aimed towards them. I'm sorry if I'm upsetting you, but this whole problem revolves around the fact that I LIKE (most parts of) your blogs and I want to read them! Just preferably without the preachings, please!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Homemade yoghurt!

As I grew up I knew that yoghurt somehow came from milk. Still, I had gotten the impression that one couldn't make yoghurt at home, because... well... just because! This notion stayed with me until just a few weeks ago, when I stumbled upon a recipe for homemade yoghurt. At first I thought "wow, this must be for those people who raise cows!" but looking closer I finally understood that no, this was something ordinary people could do in an ordinary kitchen using ordinary milk.

Huh, interesting!

I just had to try. So tonight I am proud to announce that my very first homemade yoghurt is done!

Here's how I did it...

0,5 liters of milk (I used low fat milk since that was what we had at home)
2 tblsp of yoghurt

I heated the milk until it was almost boiling but not quite, and then let it sit for a while as the temperature dropped to about 40 degrees C. Then I added the two tablespoons of yoghurt (also just what I happened to have in the fridge!) and stirred. After that I put a lid on it and placed the whole thing in the oven. The oven had just been heated to 40 degrees C. After just a couple of minutes I turned the oven off completely but left the hatch closed so that the warmth would not escape too quickly.

After 6 hours I opened the oven and checked the result. Oh yes, yoghurt! The bacteria in the small amount of yoghurt I added to the milk had reproduced and completely taken over, 'magically' turning the milk into mild and creamy yoghurt! Actually I found it a little too mild so I put it back in the oven to sit for another hour, then I'll put it in the fridge. It really is that simple!

Have you ever made yoghurt? How did you do it?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beautiful winter days and brick stitch embroidery

 Good evening dear friends! I hope you are all enjoying December as much as I am. Since a few days ago our part of the world has been completely covered in snow, and I absolutely love it. And since this is our first winter in this house it's particularly exciting to see what winter is like here.

So far I can say it's breathtakingly beautiful. Incredibly bright during the day, pitch black during the night (no streetlights!). The picture above is from two days ago, now there is even more snow. I've been shoveling quite a lot and as strange as it sounds, I love that part of it too. Sore muscles, frost in my hair and crunchy snow beneath my boots... *humming*

Last but not least, I'd like to show you some craftiness. Not my own this time, but that of my friend Katriina. She and her family came over for dinner this Sunday, and afterwards I got to see what she's working on right now. Have a look at this embroidery, isn't it gorgeous? Makes me wanna start a new embroidery project, but I really should finish my ongoing projects first.

As for me I've been playing around with the dress form, learning how to use it not just for fitting clothes but for creating new patterns from scratch. Pattern making has always been my weak side, but now it feels like I'm finally learning. The dress I'm making right now is not historical, it's meant to be used in everyday life, but it is still inspired by certain historical elements. You'll see it when it's done, I promise.