The longest night of the year being upon us soon, these are the days of short, flat light on which everything appears the same color. It's easy to feel a bit like a ghost under the pale sky.
These brief dark days are no reason to look as serious as I do here (especially if a certain someone has just sent you the above lovely frock). This is a time to hunker down, eat well, read books, do crafts, play music and go to bed early. And wear stones that are protective, calming, energizing, and even boost your immunity.
It's a time to recuperate, pet you cat, and listen to your sweetie sing Leonard Cohen's Suzanne (Of which the lovely, older singing ladies that I took my weekend trip with performed a heart-achingly beautiful rendition. And they damn near knew the words by heart too, which is pretty amazing.).
But most importantly: it's time to bake. I brought back a few loaves of my favorite bread from Finland baked from a 100-year-old starter in a traditional masonry stove (the likes of which I have high hopes for-did I ever mention that Hubby's other occupation is a stonemason?) by a woman who's family starter and stove they are. One of the easier ways to make sourdough bread starter is to take the last few slices of bread, add flour and water and let it sour for about a week. And voilà! you know have your own 100-year-old starter. Thanks to Kristiina, I also have another centennial starter to try out.
While the bread was rising, I made a hardy Finnish-style root soup with our own potatoes (Yellow Finns), carrots, garlic and onion. Add to this, if you will some hamburger meat (I like to use local lamb) fried on a pan with black pepper, parsley (our own-we have soooo mcuh) and some peas, and you've got yourself Lihakeitto. That's hearty stuff and it warms you spirit as well as you belly.
Since the bread needs about five hours to rise I also made some of my modified rieskaleipä to go with the soup. Hubby on the other hand, was busy making some sauce from the last of our apples. The longer you keep them, the sweeter they get. Until they rot, that is.
How are your shortest days and longest nights going?