It’s spring here in Estonia. I walk in the forest on my rare holidays. I scout for tiny lilac flowers on the thick carpet of dark moss and pale new grass. Soft and innocent scent of lilac blossoms is the signature of my spring, the very essence of mellow April on the shores of cold Baltic sea. June smells of linden flowers from grandma’s garden, sweet and honey-ish like in my childhood. Every summer, as a matter of unwritten family tradition, I picked linden flowers for tea. Linden tea is like dandelion wine – it makes summer last well into
This is a perfect dessert for the days following Christmas holidays - it´s light, delicious and requires minimum of work. I got the recipe from an old lady in my grocery shop as I was purchasing those sweet and juicy pears. She advised me to choose ripe but firm fruits that will hold their shape once cooked. You can modify the recipe according to your taste and the remains of that luscious holiday table. Add lemon zest, a pinch of cinnamon, some rhum, or use gingerbread and spice cake leftovers.
Christmas is all about rituals and traditions. Baking cookies is one of them. In our family there has to be at least ten different varieties on the Christmas table to satisfy all tastes. Everyone knows exactly what to pick first from the cookie plate. There are the half moon shaped vanilla kipferl, spicy gingerbread and orange-tinged saffron biscotti, cinnamon stars, Spekulatius buscuits, jam drops also called Husarenkrapfen - our family favorites, and novelties that vary from year to year.
Winter is well and truly here. Skies are grey, air is crisp and days become shorter and shorter. It´s dark and frosty when I get up in the morning and the afternoons rapidly turn into dusk. The streets are silent, litten by random light of laterns and curtains are drawn tight against the cold. It´s time for slow cooked meals, hearty soups and sweet puddings, meat stews and apple pies to help me warm up and bring back my childhood memories. What´s better than a flickering fire and big bowl of good old fashioned comfort food on a cold winter day? I have a few winter favourites which help me through this long and cold season, but if I had to choose one, it would be pancakes. Quess whom I owe this recipe?
I love picnics! Never mind the season or the weather. It´s gorgeous to pack a checkered blanket and enjoy the first truly warm day of spring under a meticulously selected tree in bloom on a sunny meadow. In summer I can spend days on end on the seaside, curled in a hammock with a book while sipping my favourite wild thyme and ginger lemonade, or in search for unbroken seashells, waiting until the sunset colours the sky flamingo-pink. Autumn picnics have their particular charm, they are full of rituals: the sipping of hot tea from thermos bottle, the rubbing of frozen fingers and hiding my red nose into knitted scarf. Then we must make a fire and eat something comforting.