It is almost impossible to have too many whisks.

I don’t like buying or owning unnecessary things, especially bulky things that we/I rarely use. We actually gave away our food processor – not because we didn’t find it useful, but because we didn’t use it often enough to make it worth the space. I think not just twice but many times before I buy a special-purpose item.

Everyday tools are a different matter. I want to have enough whisks, kitchen scissors, measuring spoons, saucepans and mixing bowls etc in the kitchen so I can work without ever worrying about running out of them. If I’ve used one decilitre-sized measuring cup for something wet, I want to be able to grab another one for flour, rather than wash and dry the first one. I want a spiral whisk for sauces and a balloon whisk for cake batter, and then one more of each so I can always just work.

We’re baking. All hands on deck – three cakes in progress in parallel, for the kids’ combined birthday party with family and relatives tomorrow. A tosca cake, a raspberry cheesecake, and cookies. Ingrid is enjoying the feeling of peanut butter cookie dough.

Speaking of children and eating, I find their food preferences quite puzzling sometimes.

Today’s dinner included roast sweet potatoes. (The little curly thing in the photo is a sliver of lemon zest.)

Both Ingrid and Adrian love roast potatoes, and potatoes in general in almost any shape and form. Both also love most sweet vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, and corn. But sweet potatoes – no.

And at the same time they can be quite fond of things that are not at all as “eager to please” the palate as most vegetables. Garlic bread, for example, is one of their great favourites, and I’ve never heard them complain about too much garlic in the food. (As long as it isn’t raw.)

Ingrid is gradually outgrowing the age of general food scepticism and is usually happy to try most meals I cook. She even ate some feta cheese recently, quite voluntarily. Adrian is more conservative – his sandwiches are all still just bread and butter, and I have to coax him to try a piece of tomato.

Sometimes one of their friends stays for dinner, and then I’m reminded just how much I challenge the kids’ taste buds. Whenever another kid eats with us, I know I have to cook the dullest food I can stomach. Even then, I see the other children separate the food on their plate and push it around and leave half of it. “I’m not so fond of this or that.” “I’m not very hungry.”

Lemon merengue pie, for Ingrid’s birthday party.

Twelve eleven-year-olds were an interesting party crowd to have. Mostly of the time they seem so grown. They eat lemon merengue pie instead of ice cream with sugar sprinkles. They have party decorations in silver and black. They mostly don’t need adults to entertain them or to arbitrate in their games, unlike younger kids. There are no tears because a piece of cake fell over, or because someone got a pink straw but wanted a green one.

But there were times when I was clearly reminded that they are still children. Especially when they get tired. When they couldn’t agree on whose turn it was to hold the pen for some part of the treasure hunt, or when someone thought that the others were doing it wrong, they really weren’t that different from a bunch of pre-schoolers – they still needed an adult to coax them through it, so the party could end without fights and tears.

A day late, we baked a birthday cheesecake.

I used to get a box of vegetables delivered every two weeks from Ekolådan. (Actually from another company first, but then I switched to Ekolådan.) The “cabbage problem” was noticeable from day 1 and never really went away, so I finally gave up.

Instead I signed up to Linas matkasse, a meal kit delivery service. Now I get recipes and all the materials for three vegetarian dinners for four persons. In a way this is a completely different thing – all the thinking has been done for me and I just chop and cook. But it partly scratches the same itch anyway: it gives me new meal ideas and helps me cook something other than the same old.

The meal kits are really convenient, especially for the days when I don’t have time to stop by the supermarket and would otherwise just cook up something quick and rather boring. Now we get something quick and not boring. The kids are not always super happy; there are often groans and sighs when I tell them I will be cooking a “Lina meal” for dinner. But they would probably grumble about some of my dinners anyway.

The cabbage problem is gone. But instead there are occasional herb problems. The chefs at Lina really like their herbs and fresh ginger, and in my opinion wildly overdose them. If I followed their instructions about ginger, some of the meals would be near inedible in my opinion. I generally tone down the herbs as well. Today’s meal is a perfect example – the recipe included an apple and kohlrabi salad with fresh oregano. I halved the amount of oregano and still it dominated so strongly that if I hadn’t prepared the salad, I wouldn’t have been able tell what veggies were in it. (I ended up rinsing most of it away from the salad.) I suspect their recipe calls for “half a stand of oregano” only so that they can say that they waste no raw materials. So now I am throwing away oregano etc instead of cabbage.

The mornings are cold. The porridge season has begun.

Three breakfasts, the best parts of three dinners (most flavour for least weight), plus cooking oil and spices.

I am wondering if the coconut cream is worth the weight.

I have made hyperbolic paraboloids in my oven!

I’m preparing for a four-day hike in the Swedish mountains. The early preparations are already done, especially all purchases – train tickets, map, some extra equipment. What’s left is packing – and food preparations.

I’ll be hiking hut-to-hut and the huts all sell some food, and I could make do with what they have. But I know from experience that if I only have dull, unvaried food to eat, I will have little appetite and will struggle to eat enough. I could do it for a day or two, but probably not four. So I intend to buy the heavy ingredients at the hut shops (pasta/rice, lentils, tomato sauce etc) and then “spice up” my meals with, well, spices and other extras that I bring with me.

The internet says that if you want variety in the meals during your hike, and don’t want to lug a heavy pack, then drying your own food is the way to go. It sounded complicated and inconvenient, so I wasn’t too excited about this idea at first. But it turned out that it only sounded that way because people have (of course) found ways to make money out of it – by selling books and dehydrators and whatnot. I just chopped up my food and dried it in the oven, and it was the easiest thing in the world. Hardly any effort at all. And the weight after drying is just a tiny fraction of the original.

The strips of bell peppers dried into wrinkled strips. The leeks turned papery and fragile. But the carrot slices came out really cool. The outside edge barely shrank at all, which turned the carrot slices into these interesting paraboloids. I wonder if it was because I didn’t peel the carrots first.

Every summer in Estonia we buy fresh peas in the pod and then stuff ourselves. I can buy a whole kilo, and when I put them in a bowl on the table, they’re gone in less than a half hour.

Here in Stockholm there aren’t many places that sell them. But the local produce stand at Spånga torg sells Finnish peas, among other exotic non-standard fruits and veggies that you cannot buy in normal supermarkets. (Such as persimmons and mangoes that are actually ripe, unlike the hard inedible things you get in supermarkets, and Swedish plums, and small Turkish apricots, and other such delicacies.) I bought peas today, and it was like a flashback to summer. Peas are like a concentrated essence of our summers in Estonia.