It's always hard for me to get into real Christmas spirit whilst in the middle of Australian summer. There's no need/point to burn candles and all the decorations just somehow seem really out of place against the sunny skies and lush green vegetation. Even food I grew up eating at Christmas just doesn't quite work here: oven-baked casseroles, filling salads and a hot cup of glogg are all a bit too much when the temperature reaches 30C and beyond.
I'm keeping the decorations to a minimum and sticking to my usual colour scheme of white and wood. I managed to make a himmeli (a traditional Christmas decoration made of natural straw) of some sort and although it's far from perfect, I'm quite pleased I had the patience to actually finish it. Since we won't have a Christmas tree, I've hung some decorations (hand-made and shop-bought) from tall willow branches we have in our living room all year around. The hand-crafted wooden star hanging on our window (it has a light inside) is quite old; I brought it back from Finland when I was there last year.
I think this is pretty much it for the decorations this year. I haven't even started thinking about what foods I might make, but chances are it will just be something that's quick and easy to make.
I don't bake much nowadays... mostly because I don't have a particular craving for sweets and my husband is quite happy to just have some fresh fruit for dessert. Summer is almost here and although I'm planning to bake some Christmas treats (ginger bread cookies are already stashed in the freezer), I will most likely bake even less.
Today's baking was prompted by a past-its-best-before-date cream I had in the fridge. I remembered mum mentioning "sour" cream was perfect for baking particular cakes, so of course I had to find a recipe and give it a go. Really this is just an ordinary sponge cake, but delicious nevertheless. You may know by now that I'm not into fiddly baking; decorations, fondants and all that, so a completely effortless cake like this one is just my type.
Admittedly the name of this cake can be a bit misleading as it is just normal cream you will need, and not sour cream as we know it in the English speaking countries. Also, the flavour is not particularly sour, even with the addition of lemon zest. I enjoyed an afternoon tea with a thick slice of cake and some fresh strawberries. Perfect for warm spring afternoon.
Sour Cream Cake
(Recipe from Kotiruoka book)
2 large eggs (free-range, organic)
170g (raw) caster sugar
zest of one small lemon
300ml heavy cream
230g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
icing sugar, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 175C.
2. Beat sugar and eggs until pale and add grated lemon zest.
3. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and carefully fold this mixture, alternating with the cream, in to sugar and eggs.
4. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin (mine was about 22cm) and bake for 35-50 minutes, depending on your oven. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
It often happens that I find a fun little project somewhere (blogs, Pinterest, you name it) and archive it for later. Some projects (time allowing) I try immediately, others I linger for longer and some never get done (or don't work out at all - there are quite a few of those as well). This cute mobile caught my attention and I wanted to give it a go. I didn't even know I like hot air balloons so much! I used thin felt to sew the balloons and added decorations (ribbon, stars and some felt bunting). The original model uses wine and champagne bottle corks for the baskets, but since I didn't have any at hand I decided to weave the baskets myself. It was a little time consuming, but easy. I just used pieces of cardboards and normal twine and attached the baskets in to the balloons.This is a great project for a child's room or just as a colourful decoration for summer.
I'm always moving things around in our home, much to my husband's frustration. I've now taken down my desk in our large study room (his desk is still there) and replaced it with this Normann Copenhagen shelf unit I bought a couple of months ago. After opening my online shop, I needed room for packaging material and some of the stock (most of the stock is still stacked away in cupboards). I also love the visual inspiration open shelves provide; they work much like a mood board for me and I'm always changing things according to whatever inspires me at the moment.
I love the look of pure white candles in a glass jar. I know it's very simple and nothing extraordinary, but to me it's as pretty as any design object. Wooden bread boards and wooden cups are also available on the store.