Okay, so I made oat bars

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You know how you just suddenly crave oats? No? Okay…

Ahem.

Well, you know how you just loathe everyday cooking and you’ve promised your boyfriend that you won’t eat any candy but you want to and realize that there’s a solution to both your problems? A magical way of circumferencing that big block of candy-denial that is the man that keeps on showing up at your apartment when you’re trying to claw open the chocolate bar in the fridge while trying to find like rocks that are the same weight as chocolate to put into the chocolate packaging for the quick little Indiana Jones-swap in case your he checks your fridge for looting?

Okay, good, now you’re with me!

The step following your clever solution-step is googling “granola bars”. A lot. Because people put the weirdest shit in these, man. Like more butter than oats? Milk? Honey, syrup, sugar AND brown sugar? Seriously? I’m cutting candy so I can avoid diabetes, man. DRIED CRANBERRIES? What are we, savages?

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So when you finally find a recipe that’s like doable with some alterations, it’s half past ten in the evening and you just sort of roll off of the couch and make your dullest late-Saturday-night shopping ever, consisting of seeds, dried prunes and white chocolate. It could mislead you to believe that I don’t have a very exciting life.

Okay, so I don’t. There’s nothing wrong with that!

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After all that strain to rush to the store, I unloaded everything in the kitchen and promptly went to bed, slept for eight hours, and then drank coffee for four hours before I ventured towards the bags of dry things loitering on my stove top. The making of my oat bars were of enough urgency to make me go biking for an hour a Saturday evening… obviously.

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As Toby, who was eliminated in the first episode of season 4 of Great British Bake Off said; “And I have grrrrrated my thumb”. Here in the north, we always sacrifice a smidgeon of blood to make the cooking fulfilling for all parts.

Then about three hours of roasting oats, pouring things into bowls, humming hesitantly, doubting my purpose in life, going through dabs of all forms of sugar in my household, melting chocolate and chopping prunes ensued. What? I complain about cranberries and then use PRUNES? I’m half-Finnish, dude. One of the classic Finnish desserts is a dark brown sludge that exactly resembles sticky chocolate pudding but is merely WHEAT boiled until dead and then you pour a tad of full fat cream on it and remember the olden lands full of bark and darkness. Prunes are true joy, I tell you!

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Raspberry and white chocolate, probably the most popular of the three kinds.

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Prunes and dark chocolate. Gloriously Finnish.

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Chocolate and orange, I totally winged it because there are NO RECIPES on chocolate and orange oat bars that doesn’t contain stupid stuff like bananas or orange concentrate. I pressed one orange’s juices and zested two, that was more than enough to flavour it!

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The oat bars were tried and tested and approved by me and my gastronomical support that approves of everything I cook because that means he doesn’t have to. I still got a ton in the fridge; they’re supposed to last for like two weeks if kept cold. They are indeed a little… healthy tasting inspite of the chocolate and sticky sugaryness that keeps the oats somewhat from falling all over your clothes when you try and eat them, but all in all, they’re a great treat!


Here are the recipes I read and altered after my own silly tastes. The first one is the base for the prune and orange ones, the second is the raspberry and white chocolate one.

Best Dang Granola Bars Ever
Chewy Raspberry Apple Granola Bars (altough I used lemon curd instead of apple sauce because I didn’t have any apple sauce but I did have lemon curd. I’m fancy like that.)

Glögg! For all you Christmas happy DIY'ers out there

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The winds have finally turned. The sweaty, fumbling hands of summer, eagerly trying to get at the little remains of any part of this country’s sweet tender flesh that wasn’t on the brink of bursting into flames seem to finally have released its hunt for us.

Luckily, the slight shivering grip that summer holds on the few remaining survivors, making it unreasonably warm in spite of it being September, isn’t enough to stifle my joy as we’re heading into my favorite part of the year: Autumn, to be followed by Christmas. With the Christmassy scent that wafts through my residence every year in September, I better enjoy it; otherwise it’d just be a massive buzz kill.

Because you see, my fellow internetters, every year when autumn rolls around, I make my own glögg. Of course, the recipe itself isn’t at all unique nor lovingly made by my grandmother’s grandmother to be passed down unto me with a low whisper; “Take care of this piece of history and pass it on to future generations”. No, it was just posted as a classic in a local newspaper in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. I found it while googling. There’s a meaningful back story for ya.

Anyways, in Sweden it’s called glögg, with its internationally more classy cousins glühwein, mulled wine and vin chaud. This version of glögg my friends, is the epitome of rural folksy drunkenness. Taste wise, it’s up there in the fancy lounges, but during the making of it, it’s certainly an ugly duckling.

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In short, all you need are spices, a watered down kind of beverage called “weak drink” (yes, whatever prejudice you have in mind is about correct), potatoes to give that real folky kind of feel, the disgusting wreckages of grapes also known as raisins, sugar and yeast. Sounds delish, right? Now dump all of that together in a classy as fuck plastic bucket (food grade of course) that’s left to ferment at the warmest coziest spot of your dwelling and in four weeks’ time, you’ll be plastered stiff by this magical, red-brownish mishmash of everything that’s enjoyable in Christmas times except for saffron. Don’t worry; I’m sure you can add that later on anyways.

Now, this recipe is quite simple, and I will list it, but I firstly I need to talk about the “weak drink”. The name is pure Swedish-English translation and it’s kind of like... It’s like if you would drink half a can of actual beer and then leave it out overnight, having the classic Swedish night rain fill up the can with water and expel all forms of alcohol in it. I would imagine it tasting pretty close to the weak drink. So I mean, you Americans out there can just choose your regular beer. BOOM!

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Okay, so now we all know how to MAKE it. But how does it look? Unfortunately, I have to inform you that it is an ugly mess during construction. Your friends will shy away when they see it. You will be thinking “What have I done?”. The only person who won’t actively shy away from the hot, fermentation-fizzy freak of a bucket is that one relative you have who eats just about anything.

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Example of how you could try classying it up a little, because adding a wooden box adds that air of craftmanship. The saying “Lipstick on a pig” could fit here.

But don’t worry. When it’s all said and done, and it’s been left to its own devices for four to six weeks, you ladle off the floaty bits and then punish it by putting it in below freezing temperatures for a while in order for all the swimming bits to sink to the bottom. Then you just hose the clear, beautifully scented glögg into bottles, careful not to get the bottom sludge along, and in tightly shut bottles, it’ll keep for up to three years!

HOME MADE GLÖGG, RECIPE!

Original recipe here.

5 liters of weak drink (watered down beer-ish tasting alcohol free fizzy drink)

5 sliced potatoes

50 grams of fresh yeast for sweet doughs

15 grams of whole cloves

20 grams of cardamom seeds

5 cm’s of fresh ginger, shaved and divided in four pieces

1 cinnamon stick

300-500 grams of raisins

2.5 kilos of sugar

3 dried bits of bitter orange peel (the original recipe is without this)

Mix it all in a ten liter bucket, put saran wrap with poked aeration holes over the top, let sit for 4-6 weeks. If your house is cold, find the warmest spot. I found that under 17C/62F, the fermentation goes into hibernation and we don’t want that!

Clarify with cold or whatever method you like to use. Siphon the cleared glögg without getting the bottom silt with you. Heat up and drink! The Swedish style is with almonds and raisins dropped into it.

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A warning has to go out; if you drink as much as you like of it, the picture above will be a true representation of how you feel, and… see. So, it’s for grown ups to enjoy only. You’ll notice that when you sniff it for the first time and your false lashes pops right off of your face when meeting the warm, surprisingly alcoholic winds of your home made glögg.

Cheers!

A readily slow weekend

A little Sunday-soused on the red wine I forced out of a leftover bag-in-box from my birthday party, I pulled out the last tray of Finnish Christmas stars out of the oven and put them on the stove. I looked around the kitchen at the post-baking mess and thanked the technology lords for the entity called “a dishwashing machine”.

Now it’s sloshing happily out there in the kitchen while cleaning up my mess with a gentle hand after my, if I may say so myself, quite successful attempt to get my shit together and do some Christmas baking instead of just lying on the couch watching Bones. I realized that I could watch Bones in the kitchen anyway, I have a laptop!

This weekend I’ve only left the apartment in the name of errands, a nice contrast to the previous five weekends that just somehow sort of ended with the spontaneous social consumption of alcoholic beverages and visits at the local meat market, also called “the bar”.

In an Instagram competition, I recently won a book made for singles, “The handbook for singles on the brink of a nervous breakdown (SE)”. Entertained, I’ve reached page 245 but in direct contrast to the quote on the front page “Recognition is total, buy it!” I can conclude that I can in no way identify with the author of the book. The closest thing I can relate is that we’d passed our 30th birthday before we exclaimed “YOLO!” for the first time. The book tells a story very similar Sex and the City and that kind of single life is drastically different to my everyday grind as a single person in my 30’s.

The nearest I’ve been to lumber down cobbled big city streets in stiletto heels, eating fancy dinners at restaurants with French sounding names then drinking a glass of fancy red at Riche while flirting with gorgeous single men, is when V and I celebrated my birthday last year by getting drunk on bubbly at home with my mom and then going to McDonalds in order to keep the worst of the intoxication at bay. Later on, we realized that the place we’d picked for the evening only contained 18-year olds and I’m not quite ready to be a cougar yet.

Hastily we went to a place that takes an entrance fee and I immediately got chatted up be a 40-year old, kind of hot, math teacher. Ah, better. That was a year ago.

But soon it’s Christmas. The season for doing stupid things. Let’s see what happens this year.