Archive for the ‘food’ Category


Sunday, October 7th, 2012

I try to buy fairtrade and/or organic where I can – especially for luxury items such as coffee, tea and sugar. We can all do without those. Chocolate too.

Fairtrade bananas were one of the first ethical products on the market. Today I bought some – a pack of six  – grown to strict organic standards and carrying the fairtrade label too. That the organic fairtrade bananas are sold in plastic bags here in the UK seems very odd to me too.

The pack of bananas (six) cost £1. I am not sure how that can be right but I did query it.  The fairtrade mark ensures the product meets ‘internationally agreed Fairtrade standards that include social environmental and economic standards’ but their claim that the fairtrade certified producers ‘are getting a better deal’ seems questionable in the light of the price- particularly when the non organic, non fairtrade bananas (sold loose) cost more!

Seems that the farmers are not getting much for their produce or there’s a glut at the moment or the shop misjudged their order or something. But they did taste sweet.



all saints

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

It’s a bit weird really – but today we celebrated all saints day here in Finland (almost a week late!).That’s because in Finland All Saints Day is  always celebrated on the first Saturday of November; only the LEP (Lutheran-Anglican) which meet in Turku cathedral didn’t have a service yesterday, so the feast day was carried over to today. There  was also a touch of all souls day (with the reading of the names of those who have recently died) thrown in for good measure!

What was lovely about the service was that we sang quite a few old faithful hymns (which even I knew!) and that included verses 1-6 of For all the saints (which I truly love!), though I was a bit puzzled as to why we didn’t sing the last two verses (which are so powerful, and so very apt for this day in the Church calander)

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The English hymnal used in the Cathdral is Mayhew’s Hymns Old & New, and what is intersting is that much of the militaristic language has been changed. No longer soldiers (in v.3) but servants. I think Jesus would have approved, although Paul certainly used military terms (e.g. about the armour of God) to get his point across!!

In the evening a friend (who helped in the belfry yesterday) made Ethiopian food for us here at home. He worked on a mission there a few years ago, and while there learned to make some ethnic food. It’s a bit like Indian food (spicy) and we had a dish of lentils as well as a chicken dish (watti). Ethiopian ‘bread’ is a bit strange: a sort of sour pancake mix, which you used to scoop the food up with (chapatti style).  Nice end to the weekend :)

at eija’s

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

lime cheesecakeThere is nothing quite like a good cup of tea with a good friend! Today I drove over to   eija’s house (3 hours away) and she took me out to a lovely old-fashioned cafe called cafe Cabrioloet (in an old bank).

cafe cabriolet PorvooThey specialise -as you can see – in cheesecakes. The  one on the left was lime (decorated with blueberries) but there was also a lemon one. That was gluten and lactose-free (but don’t hold that against it. It was delicious!) That posed a problem for us. Which to choose … so we decided to buy one of each and share them.

Great idea? Well we thought so. Only we were having so much fun, that eija’s latte went flying and the poor waiter had to rescue the limecheesecake, move us to another table, change the tablecloth oh and wash the floor. (And when we got home I had to wash my shorts!)  But the delicious cheesecakes were worth it. On reflection I think I had a slight preference for the lemon one … but I’d really have to go back to sample them again to be sure! I wonder if we’d be allowed back in!

pancakes and pulla

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Sleep deprived, restless but migraine free. God is good!

I have just done the preliminary read through (and first corrections) of a huge proof reading job I’m doing, and am about to start putting the corrections and suggestions/comments for text editing into the online document. I am determined to get this done before I leave for London tomorrow even if it means staying up late night tonight. Crazy, but needs must!

Today is Shrove Tuesday.

In England that means pancakes (with lemon and sugar) in Finland it’s laskiaspulla (sweet buns with jam or almond paste and whipped cream). I know which I prefer. The idea behind this in both traditions though is to not to buy in ingredients to bake but rather use up all eggs, flour, jam and other goodies as Lent – and a time of fasting and preparation for Easter – begins tomorrow.

In our local church it’s been a tradition for years (re-instated this year) to have a Shrovetide Cafe, so if you are in Turku today why not swing by and join in the fun? It starts at 11am and goes on until 2 or 3pm. Sadly I won’t be able to make it – way too much to do today (and yes I’m still going to my prayer closet i.e. swimming – it IS Tuesday after all!)

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. For those of you English speakers in Turku, please note the international Lutheran-Anglican Congregation will hold a Service of Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes in the chapel in Turku Cathedral starting at 7pm. Sadly I’ll miss that too … I’ll be at Helsinki airport waiting for my plane then.

the eve of Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

We have a lot of snow here today. I think it snowed a lot in the early hours of the morning … certainly it was very grey still at 9am when my new anti-SAD light alarm sprang on. It’s a nice way to wake up.

Last night I cooked the Christmas ham for my mother-in-law. It weighed 6kg. It said 1-1½ h per kg at 100-125 c. I chose the lower temperature and it was in from midnight and was way over the minimum temperature when I took it out at 7am (but nicely baked). It smelt delicious. I went back to bed though … too early and too dark to start the day at this time of year.  I had brunch later – slices of still warm ham with a fried egg and freshly baked bread and a nice pot of tea. All that was missing was the orange juice so I ate a mandarine afterwards.

I’m off to visit my prayer closet now. This is the last day the pool is open before Christmas. I think it reopens on Monday though. To be honest I don’t feel that excited about going – it’s cold out (but at only minus 6 it’s a lot warmer than it’s been) but I need some exercise and I know I need the time with God too.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. That’s when Finns do all the eating and exchanging of presents. I’ll finish the day with a trip to St Michael’s with a friend at 10pm to sing beautiful Christmas carols in Finnish.  We’ll go to church services at 11am (Methodist) on Christmas morning and again at 4pm (International congregation Lutheran cum Anglican Ecumenical partnership) and we’ll eat roast turkey (English style) in between.  Usually we have a Christmas puzzle to do afterwards… but this year I didn’t find a good one. TS did buy one for/with his girlfriend though – so I’m wondering if they’ll do that here at our home I hope so. They are off on a cruise to Stockholm on boxing day.

Me? I’m looking forward to a few hours by the fire with a good book over the next couple of days … and some long walks with hubby and the dogs in the winter wonderland that God has blessed us with this Christmas.

snow fall Christmas Eve's eve

(This photo was taken from our dining room just before brunch today)

light and dark

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

SAD comes and goes I find. Thank you for your prayers, emails and text messages. I’m feeling better. The sun is shining. I made some significant progress on my thesis yesterday and today I’m having a rare day off from my studies. Yay.

I’ve been longing to make our home a bit more homely. Somehow it’s always been a bit sterile. That’s in part cos I can’t be bothered with ornaments and the like.

Anyway to cut a long story short I decided to buy a new secondhand sofa  to put in the dining area opposite the table. I went down to ecotori (recycling centre, a bit like freecycle in the UK though it’s not free) expecting to find something yesterday. There were two I was interested in – a reddish one which would have been ok (45€) and a blue one which was a bit longer and was really nice (85€), but which didn’t have removable cushions.  Since I had no money with me I didn’t buy either, but went home to find out when TS could help me and when we could borrow FIL’s car (it has the hook for the trailer on it).

Set off this morning to see what they had. Both sofas were still there but then I spied one that hadn’t been there yesterday but which had no price tag. It was a deep red (burgandy-ish) and had large removable cushions with covers that can be removed too (for cleaning). I thought it might have been sold already. No. It had just arrived.  Found the boss who gave me a price (80€) and then I found out that I could get a 20% discount as I’m a student. Yay. 64€ and it was mine.

TS and I went to get the car, picked up the trailer, and then when we got home DD helped us get the sofa in. It’s lovely and really comfy. And a price we could afford – and which we won’t fuss too much if the dogs get it dirty or the puppies gnaw on a little (though we’ll train them not to!)

Tonight I have a not-so-nak*d chef coming  round to make supper (some other friends are joinging us as well as TS and his girlfriend) I can’t wait to hear / see their verdict on my purchase.

P.S. realise that this post makes this purchase sound a bit like retail therapy (grin) which I suppose it is in a way. What I forgot to say is that I’ve felt my spirits lift a bit too – and as I was vacuuming and cleaning today it was great to practice the presence of God. Sounds super pious but isn’t. God is good, and somedays it’s as if there’s an open heaven that shows that to me. This morning was such a day.


Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Fifteen years ago we started a group – informal, for fun, no kids, no husbands – called the Ladybirds. It’s for English speaking women here in Turku. The membership has changed a lot since then – and the founders older if not necessarily wiser! – but it’s still a lot of fun.

Tonight we met in a friend’s new home for a colourful autumn party. Pot luck. I love how these things always work out. We didn’t co-ordinate anything – the only instruction was to bring something colourful to share! We ended up with pesto penne salad with orange peppers in it (delicious!), vegetarian quiche, salmon-balls with a tangy apple based sauce, & cheese sticks – and for desert there was apple flan, lingonberry pie, grapes, zucchini cake.

My contribution was tyrni fool. I forgot to take a photo of the desert so it seems I was the fool. Seabuckthorn (tyrni) is native to the coastal area of Finland, the berries are tiny and notoriously difficult to collect (MIL collected these ones) but full of vitamins.

We had such a lot of fun tonight. There were about ten of us together -older and newer members – aged from about 40-55 – and with conversations switching this way and that no-one knew what to expect next! Best of all there was a whole lot of laughter. I am so thankful for friends like this!

Struck me tonight too that I really should get out more (grin) it’s ages since I’ve met up with these ladies, though there’s usually an activity every month.

lead where you are

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Edited to add: I wrote this yesterday. As I was about to post it the server crashed. For hours. So I went to bed early – real early- instead! Read for a while and went to sleep at about 9pm! Luckily the autosave had saved a draft!

lead where you are was the theme of this year’s Willowcreek Global Leaders’ Summit in Helsinki and it was great.

Looking at church from the perspective of leading where you are is a good one. What I mean by that is it’s easy – oh so easy – to fall into the trap of ‘I’m not the pastor / an elder in the church therefore I can’t do anything’ mode but actually there’s a lot you and I can do where we are.  As the sports advertisement says ‘just do it’ :)

I was hoping that I’d be struck by lighting during this conference – as far as my MA thesis goes that is – and I’m not sure it happened – though I do have a lot of ideas mulling around … But some things in my heart were changed in this conference and that’s good.

I’ll try to write something about each of the eight sessions sometime in the next week or so. Each session had some really good (and testing!) questions after it – there was some time for processing but I really want to make attending this conference count in my life (and ministry such as it is) and blogging will help  – so watch this space :)

Another awesome aspect of being in Helsinki was that I got to spend 3 nights with my friend-cum-daughter which was a lot of fun, though sadly she was working on both Friday and Saturday so she couldn’t attend GLS this year. Last night we cooked dinner together last night – (for three other friends) and tried a new lemon meringue pie recipe which turned out really well. Then we sat down and watched the previous James Bond on DVD so we’ll be ready to go see the new one which premiered last night here in Finland. I’m hoping hubby will take me for my birthday treat but if not I’ll go see it with the Ladybirds next Weds.

Oh and we talked! a lot!

holy days and holidays

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Today Finland is shut. More or less. It’s because on the first Saturday of November All Saints’ Day is celebrated. That today also happens to be November 1st is incidental. It’s always a bit of a difficult day to know what to do with, to be honest, though one of the very nice things to do is visit one of the graveyards because the vast majority of Finns place lighted candles at the graves of their loved ones.

Hubby is busy all day, dog training without the dogs. He and a couple of other dog-mad friends have signed up for a day of lectures. Crazy. So my friend and I are taking the dogs on a long walk at about 10am. TS is dropping us off at vanhalinna (about 6km away) and we’ll make our own way home across the fields. It’s on a day like today I wish I hadn’t left my camera in England. It’s gorgeous out. Cold and a little frosty, but blue light blue skies which are a really welcome relief after all the rain we’ve had this week.

I’m hoping and praying that the weather is equally 600 km north of here. A young friend and her beloved are  getting married up in Kokkola today. I wish her and her husband-to-be every blessing as they begin their life together. I had a sneaky preview of her dress last week. It’s lovely, and I know she’s going to walk tall today!  They’ll be back in Turku already tomorrow and will take their honeymoon (in Israel) over the Christmas break. Nice!

I’m making turkey for dinner tonight. That’s one nice thing about these holidays you feel you can splurge a little. TS just informed me though that not only is his girlfriend not coming to dinner he’s going over to their place instead.  Oh well all the more for hubby and I, I guess.

Part 2:Soul

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

… continuing my live blogging of First Place for Health ( it all started here) and Part I:heart is found here

Part 2 is entitled Soul: Seeking Balance Spiritually, and also continues the emphasis that First Place 4 Health is about living a balanced life.

(I should perhaps start by saying there’s a lot of confusion about the terms spirit and soul generally, that so it’s probably no surprise that Carole Lewis seems to be using the word soul where I personally would use the word spirit, but that difference doesn’t really matter here.)

Part 2 surprised me a lot – though in retrospect it shouldn’t have done as Lewis has been emphasising all along that losing weight is a God thing! This section is what I’d call a call back to God, in other words a call to stop being a Christian in name only, but to walk the walk and invite and include God into every aspect of your (our) life.

It’s divided into three chapters: i) the power of prayer ii) the compass of scripture and iii) digger deeper, and I really enjoyed them all.