Sour cherry hand pies.

Sweet and salty crunchy coated nuts

about 750g of various nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews)
150g unrefined sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
a pinch of smoked paprika or chilli powder
200ml ground almonds
2 - 3 tsp salt flakes

Heat sugar and 100ml water until all sugar has melted. Add cardamom, paprika and all the nuts and cook, stirring, for a good 5 to 7 minutes.
Turn the heat down, add the ground almonds and stir. Add a splash of water if it looks too dry to stick. Add salt and mix very thoroughly through.
If you are satisfied with the flavour, spread the mass on a baking sheet in a aingle even layer. Separate very large clusters using two forks. Dry in a 90C oven for about half an hour.

Last week saw the arrival of the second Saaremaa Food Festival.
Restaurant Week was part of the festival. Most of the cafes and restaurants created special menus for this week with fixed prices. Two course lunches for 10€ and three course dinners for 15€. My intention was to try five different restaurants, but I had to go with four.

Mosaiik Cafe lunch offer on the left, BBQ beef fillet. Saaremaa Veski pan bread with pork and cabbage on the right. Veski dessert was a classical floating islands.

Retro Cafe kama dessert.
Retro lunch menu also included pork chop with roast potatoes and coleslaw. The pork chop was thick, big chunk. The sauce and coleslaw were awesome.

La Perla dinner menu: three aubergine bruschetti, whole baby trout a la Meuniere, panna cotta with spiced plums

I'm not a fan of aubergines, it was ok I guess, the tomato salad on top was tasty. Trout was flaky and moist with a superb crispy skin. I ate all of that trout skin! Usually I wouldn't eat fish with tomatoes but this tomato salad was very citrusy, making it an ideal companion. The panna cotta wasn't too photogenic but it was seriously tasty with the right amount of melt-in-your-mouth softness. They should add it to their regular menu. Mmm.

I also wanted to try out Chameleon as I've never eaten there but they insisted that I either have to book days in advance or buy a load of booze. Their dining room was practically empty. I opted for the third variant - big fat PASS! Won't be going back.

Another exciting event, and probably my favourite of the week, was the day of pop-up apple cafes.

Three chefs with a food truck. Same as last year. Simple three item menu:
pulled pork bun, chickpea coconut ramen, apple crumble with ice cream.

Sisters Luule and Lea set their cafe near the post office. Every local knows that these sisters can bake! The trail with little apples was so sweet.

Ristorante La Perla had an extensive menu with apple themed cocktails. I tried their tiramisu.

Suur õun.

Altogether there were ten cafes. I did not photograph them all.
Though the idea is that these cafes should be homey little pop-up cafes in peoples' gardens, a third or more of the cafes have professional chefs or caterers. It's good to have some professionals in the mix but I hope it will not start to dominate. That would kill the fun factor.

Looking forward to next year's event already!

Summer was really full of sunshine, since the second week of July we basically had no rain for two months. Wells got dry, grass went brown. I spent my days outside. Without a computer. Here are some of the good eats of these months.

 Smoked chicken and mozzarella pizza; poached duck egg, asparagus and toast.

 Another duck egg; asparagus and halloumi skewers on the grill.

 Glazing lamb ribs as they sit on the grill.

As the fat started dripping, coals took flame and it became nice and smoky.

These three tortes below are all from the cake sale that took place in the end of June at the regional training centre. All the cakes, biscuits and tortes on sale were made by the confectionery students for their graduation exam and were put up for sale later.

Strawberry-rhubarb-mokka on the left, pistachio and orange on the right. The pistachio cake does not look as showstopping as the other two but the taste was addictive!

Cream cheese mousse and fresh berries.
The cake sale was fun. Again next year!

First blueberries from our garden; black raspberry that I planted one year ago is thriving.