August 07, 2012

Balcony Make-Over, Korvapuusti and Some Changes

Last weekend I finally had time to get our balcony sorted. When we moved into this apartment 8 months ago, we were already busy planning our wedding, so most of the home-improvements had to be put on hold. I am not usually a very patient person, but this year has gone past so quickly that I have hardly had time to stop and whinge about not having a finished balcony.

I had already ordered a three piece dining set for the balcony and when it arrived last week, I decided that the coming weekend was a perfect time to put everything else in place as well. On Friday I drove to a near-by nursery to pick up plants, several bags of potting mix and a few new pots. Those large fibreglass pots you see in these photos are a left-over from the previous balcony make-over we did in our old apartment.


Picking up the right kinds of plants was quite easy. I wanted to go for easy-to-maintain shrubs that would stay green throughout the year, so I bought a few white agapanthus and a couple of lavenders to go with my existing plants. I've given up trying to grow veggies for now as I've had real problems with whiteflies and aphids. Hopefully these plants are a little more stress-free yet still give the balcony that green outlook I wanted.

Although I'm sure I'll still be adding bits and bobs on the balcony, I'm really happy with the outcome. When I had finally finished re-potting the plants and cleaning up the mess, it was such a nice treat to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy the sun. I even made some korvapuusti* to celebrate our new balcony!

While I'm at it, I guess this is as good as opportunity as any to tell you about some changes I've planned for this blog. After almost three solid years of blogging, I've decided to mix things up a bit and also start doing posts on decorating and craft so technically this won't be solely a food blog anymore. I will be sharing more traditional Finnish recipes (like the one today) and I have also been planning a name change, but that might have to wait a little longer. I hope you will still continue to enjoy my posts and as always I'd love to hear your feedback!



500ml (organic) milk
50g fresh yeast or 4 teaspoons dry yeast
120g raw caster sugar + a few tablespoons for filling and topping
1/2 teaspoons salt 
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 (free-range, organic) egg + 1 egg for brushing
800-1000g (organic) plain flour
150g (organic) butter + 50g for filling
ground cinnamon for filling

1. Heat milk to 'hand-warm' or to about 42 C if using dry yeast (which is a little warmer than if using fresh yeast). Add yeast and stir until it dissolves. Add sugar, salt and cardamom and stir well to dissolve. Add one egg and whisk lightly to blend it in.

2. Start adding the flour, bit by bit, first stirring with a wooden fork, then kneading by hand. Add melted and cooled-down butter, knead and add more flour until the dough feels soft and doesn't stick to your hand.

3. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place (a sink filled with warm water is ideal if it's a cool day) to double in size.

4. Gently punch down the dough to get rid of any air trapped inside. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for a further 10 minutes.

5. Roll the dough into a flat, 2cm thick square. It is probably easier to roll the dough if you do it in two batches. Spread softened butter thinly and evenly on the square, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and roll into a (very) thick cigar. Cut the roll into even sized pieces (this amount should make about 30 pieces). Press a fold in each piece with your little fingers to create the traditional korvapuusti shape. Arrange the buns on baking trays lined with baking paper (leave plenty of room between each bun), cover the trays with tea towels and leave to rise for another 30 minutes. 

6. Preheat the oven to 225C.

7. Just before baking, brush the buns with a lightly whisked egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes or until evenly browned. Leave to cool on a wired rack and cover with a tea towel. These freeze really well, as long as you let them cool completely, use thick freezer bags and empty out all the air from the bags so they won't dry out.

* Yes, I still follow a plant-based diet so these were actually just another hubby-treat in the M&M household.


  1. I've been following your blog about a year now, greatly inspired by the facts you share on nutrition, healthy living & all the recipes. So as I read your post, I was afraid of that you're about to take a break or completely stop blogging! So I was relieved & glad as I read further on and found out, that you're not going to stop, but that you're gonna blog also about crafts & decoration!
    Your balcony looks really nice- I specially fancy those elegant, white lavendel-pots & the black/white-cushions (they remind me of Marimekko:)

  2. Oh, I love those buns and your balcony looks awesome!



  3. Gorgeous photos, as always Maria.

  4. What a lovely balcony - I have balcony envy. Our balcony is very long & north-facing so perfect for growing edibles but a bit to hot for humans as we have no shade. Looking forward to seeing what you do with the blog.

  5. The weather in Sydney has been wonderful - the perfect time to do the balcony - yours is so lovely and spacious.

    Love your style so it would be great to see other things you do.

  6. Your balcony looks fantastic, it will be a pleasure to sit out there on a warm day. Have a good week. Diane

  7. I love your korvapuusti recipe, and now I feel like making some! The balcony looks great by the way.

  8. Your balcony is stunning! I dream of having a balcony like relaxing and stylish!

  9. Ihana parveke! Ja vaikken olekaan pullan tai korvapuustien ystävä,niin nuo näyttävät herkullisilta! ja jatkossa seuraan myös blogiasi.

  10. A perfect balcony!And the korvapuusti recipe looks so delicious....

  11. I'm definitely excited for more traditional Finnish recipes! I remember eating buns like these in the dead of winter in Helsinki and loving the experience, even as the snow fell around me.

  12. Your balcony is gorgeous. I love your furniture. I have a huge terrace in my house and a few more plants, lol, but it looks lovely....not much work and clean.
    Love from Spain

  13. Love the clean lines of the balcony! And your idea for expanding your blog ... don't worry about not being just a 'foodie' blog, I think we all come along to your site for more than recipes! :)

  14. First: your balcony looks wonderful: think of all the relaxed meals there to which you can look forward! Love the lavender and, milady, you just watch those agapanthus grow!! They are the most 'grateful' plants in the world: I bought 1/2 doz miniatures from Tesselaar's about a decade ago, now I give hundreds away each year and half my garden borders flower like mad in the summer months! Secondly: I have loved the foodie side of you for quite some time, but am actually hugely looking forward to the new format! And the Finnish recipes: those korvapuusti look awfully familar from childhood days;)! Good luck! Enjoy!

  15. wow, that house, the decoration, the surrounding and the absolutely tasty looking roll caught me..i am daydreaming about being in a beautiful place like this now. your pics are so clear i almost feel as i am right there. seriously wonderful! thats all i need on busy work day. just look at your amazing pics! please post more :)

  16. Hello hello!

    I love the balcony make over. A sure sign that Spring is not far away down there! :)
    I bet many of your delicious creations will be enjoyed on the new dining set and I can't wait to see more.

    How fun that you are broadening your repetoire. I know it will be fantastic and I am very excited to see what you have in stall for us.

    Hugs from the North.

    xx Charlotta

  17. Gorgeous! The balcony looks so sunny and welcoming :)

  18. love the clean lines, bright and sunny balcony! and the delicious rolls

  19. Your balcony looks so stylish and clean (not as in un-dirty but clean lines) :) Love it. can't wait to check it out! Maybe we should do something later in Sept to celebrate both our bdays! :)

  20. Korvapuusti and pulla - surely one of my favorite treats. They make you feel home. And I love yout new balcony!

  21. I was in Finland this summer and one of my favorite foods was the use of cardamom in sweets and breads. I can't wait to make these and bring this flavor home!