I did not intend to stay away from the blog for this long. Unfortunately I have been fighting a bad case of pneumonia since the middle of March. I am only now recovering after weeks on different antibiotics in the hospital.
It hit me completely by surprise. I was feeling a bit dizzy one day and suddenly had a 39C fever and couldn't stop coughing long enough to catch my breath. I was taken to the hospital the same day. The xray didn't show anything then but two days later my trachea felt like it was on fire and I was coughing bloody mucus. CRP was around 240 (normal is below 8), and surely, the xray then showed my whole left lung was out.

I've been home for about just over two weeks. Starting to feel like a real person now.
It does not help that it is still freezing cold and it's snowing outside!

I did not touch the camera for two months. I was a wreck. Until now.

Despite everything and the limited time space I was determined to pull off another smörgåstårta for this years Easter.
It is a bit smaller than the previous ones. A slender rectangular one.

Two tortes from the cake fair at the regional training centre. Salted caramel and mocha charlotte on the left and red velvet with buttercream (and lots of it!) on the right and top left. The caramel cake became slightly disengaged after cutting into it.

I believe it's fourth time for us to purchase a cake from the event. There was a reporter from TV3 with camera crew and my little niece was caught on TV.
My favourite cake through the years was probably the pistachio orange torte from 2015 but this years salted caramel charlotte was super as well.

BBQ pork rib and cowberry smörgåstårta

16 slices of toast

300g bbq rib meat, off the bone
100ml mayonnaise
5 tbsp broth or meat cooking juices

200g tomatoes
1 tbsp red onion marmalade
150g cowberry relish/jelly
150g cream cheese
100ml mayonnaise
100g herb butter
salt, pepper

200g cream cheese
150g herb butter
12 ham rolls
12 cheese rolls
6 cherry tomatoes
fresh cowberries or cranberries

As always, start by making the fillings.
To make the meat filling, place the rib meat, mayonnaise and broth into a food processor and process it all to a homogeneous paste. Taste to check the seasoning, flavour depends on how well the ribs were seasoned.

To make the cowberry and tomato filling, blitz tomatoes with red onion marmalade, cowberry relish and mayonnaise. Cream butter and mix it with cream cheese. Then stir

Divide the toast into piles of four slices and trim off all the crusts. Place four slices of toast in a row on a platter, one after another. Spread with a good amount of meat filling and top with another layer of toast. Now spread these with the tomato filling.
Continue to stack and spread until you run out of toast. Pile any remainder of the fillings on top and smooth it out, spreading on the sides as well.
You should have four layers of toast with interchanging layers of fillings.

Take the butter and cream cheese meant for garnishing. Cream the butter. Mix it with cream cheese and spread over the sides of the cake in a thin layer. It is to prevent it from drying.
Keep the rest of the butter mixture for garnishing, but keeping it in the fridge might make it too stiff. Garage might be a good alternative if there is no pantry.

Cover the cake with cling film and pop it in the fridge. Store overnight.

Before serving, use a pastry bag to neatly pipe the butter mixture onto the cake. Arrange ham and cheese rolls on top. I did cut them in half diagonally. Add quarters of cherry tomatoes and fresh berries. Our local shop didn't have fresh cowberries that day but they had strawberries which I then sliced and arranged on top.

Christmas has come and gone, together with the snow.
I baked so many biscuits and pepparkakor. For a whole month I did nothing but bake and decorate. Boy, did it take time to neatly squeeze those lines. By the end my fingers were so cramped in the "squish" position that I had to use my other hand to prize my fingers off the little squeezy bottle. But it was all joy. Unlike last year when mum dropped a baking sheet with nearly all the pepparkakor stacked on there, all decorated and cute, on the floor, shattering them to a million pieces. Only few survived. I was a bit crushed because of all the hours that I had invested. Now, when I mentioned said incident before the holidays, she claimed to have no recollection of the matter.

The anno 2016 lot of Christmas biscuits was shipped out to the world to my dearest friends well before Christmas Eve and probably has been consumed by now.

Except for this small bunch of pepperkakor that still hangs by my window. It still smells like the holidays. I will probably keep it 'til it is all dusty, it looks too sweet, I don't want to break it. I'd rather just keep it until it becomes icky and then just throw it in the bin.

Orange and cardamom kringel, so so good! I think I ate half of it just by myself!

Besides all the gingerbreads and butter biscuits I also made florentines, just as on previous occasions, using my own recipe which can be found here.

About two dozens of extra fat and large ones. I love them.
Saaremaa Food Festival 2016 was held from 5th to 11th September.

Mosaiik Cafe lunch - chanterelles and pork cheek, apple and hazelnut dessert.

Mosaiik Cafe roast beef and mash ; Retro Cafe lamb burgers with mash, cabbage and chanterelles.
The lamb was underseasoned but their soup was super spicy.

La Perla chicken with apples, carrots and Cheddar.

GO Spa strawberry and rhubarb dessert.

Naturally, the festival ended with a day full of pop-up Apple cafes.
Originally, the idea behind it was for the locals to open up their garden gates and back yards for visitors, setting up outdoor cafes for a day, offering goodies baked/cooked using local apples.

The event is becoming more commercial with the participation fee shooting for the stars, it has gone from 5 euros three years ago to 32 euros this year. And the number of professional businesses participating is rising as well.

The weather was not too charming, there was some sort of mist coming down all day.
But still, I visited six cafes out of seventeen. Browsed by three more but didn't photograph.
Here are photos from the ones that caught my eye the most.

First cafe, Õunamaius, was close to home, just one block away. The choices here could make you blind! Literally too, as it was very brightly coloured. I bought little apple fritters, a slice of pastry cream torte, two slices of Swiss roll and meat pasties. All tasty. And I knew it would be as Luule is known for her baking.
Luule and Lea took part last year as well, see their apple trail here.

Next up was Akord. This took us to the other side of town. Area where I usually never go to.

I went to this place, Ladvaõun, with a mission. In the local newspaper they claimed they were serving Tarte Tatin. I definitely wanted to try it. I baked more than a dozen Tarte Tatins during the first day of Apple Cafes three years ago. Small ones like this and larger ones.
But this cake did not resemble the plump and buttery pastry I was expecting to see. I was confused.
Mission aborted.

Ristorante La Perla has been participating three years in a row. Their selection of goodies was almost as extensive as Luule's. I got a strawberry muffin with a burnt edge and a chicken salad sandwich. Too bad I didn't photograph the sandwich, it was really good, I would buy that again, many times over.

Next up was Saaremaakera with their wacky but awesome truck / pizza oven. They also had some doughnuts on the counter but I don't think anyone had eyes for them. There was this great cheesy pizza smell all over the yard. The menu, so to say, was scribbled on the back of a pizza box and that was it. 8 euros, four toppings of your choice.

Last place was a hole in the wall - Õunakoda. I had a chicken wrap there which was tasty. But the place was so windy and chilly. Otherwise I would've tried their pancakes.

Better luck with weather next year.