Thursday, December 8, 2016

Karelian pie

If someone asks from Finnish people, what is the most traditional and iconic Finnish food, I bet most of the answers would be "Karelian pies". These are rice porridge filled rye pasties, eaten with Egg Butter or butter, -and they are amazing. Nowadays people doesn't bake these at home so often than few decades ago, because more or less every store sell these. The quality of the pies varies a lot in stores, but still many think these are way too challenging to make by themselves. I know quite many people who haven't even tried to do these, not even once.

I can't brag about my skills either, since this was the first time for me too. But anyhow, I think I can still give some compliments to myself, because these pies turned out to be pretty nice looking. Or what do you think? The taste is usually easy to get right, but the looks... Oh dear, that's the hard part. Everyone has their own handwriting, and there is even saying in Finland about shape of these pies compared to bakers privates... But I'm not go to that... :D

Karelian Pie
24 pcs
For the crust
1 ½ dl of water
1 tbsp canola oil
3/4 tsp salt
3 dl rye flour
1 dl all-purpose flour
For the filling
2 ½ dl of water
2 dl uncooked rice 
7 ½ dl milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
For brushing
Melted butter and milk

Prepare the filling first. Stir rice into boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Add the milk and let the porridge simmer for 30 minutes. Leave the filling, lid on, for 10 minutes. Season with salt and let it cool. Stir the egg in the cooled porridge.

For the crust: Mix cold water, oil, salt and flours with a wooden spoon. Knead the dough until smooth and solid. Sprinkle on the table rye and wheat flour mixture and pour the dough onto the flour. Shape the dough into a log and cut into 24 portions and shape each into a round. On a lightly floured board, roll out each round into a 10-12 cm circle.

Spread filling evenly on each round. Fold two opposite edges of the pastry over the filling and crimp the edges of the dough toward the center to make an oval-shaped pastry, allowing about 1 cm of the crust to overlay the filling and leaving the center of the filling exposed.

Slide the pies on the prepared baking sheet and bake the pies 275 C for about 10-15 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and hot milk and brush on the pastries. Pile the pies in a bowl and cover with parchment paper and cloth.
Serve with butter or preferably with Egg Butter

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Coffee & Chocolate bars - "Masaliisa"

During the 80's, there was no party where this confection wasn't served. Or was there? This pastry is, Mokkapalat or Masaliisa, to my mind, the most iconic pastry of that decade. I forgot this for years and years, until my husband mentioned this once. Name "Mokkapalat" is more common with Finns, but In Pori area they call it "Masaliisa". Even I'm not from that area I found the name so amusing, I startet to use it instead of "Mokkapalat"

To me, the best part of the pastry is the frosting, and there never enough it. So why not put it in to two layers? I kind og a made cake using this bar, and this way I managed to get more frosting into my piece of bar. 

Coffee & Chocolate bars "Masaliisa"
For 4-6 person
For the cake
5 dl sugar
5 dl all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
2 1/2 dl water
200 g butter
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1dl strong coffee (with milk)
2 eggs
For the frosting
50 g butter
500 g icing sugar
5 tbsp strong coffee
1-1½ tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix all dry ingredients together (sugar, flour and baking soda)Put butter, water and cocoa powder intoa a pan and bring to a boil. Combine the flour mixture and cocoa mixture. Addt 1 dl (milk) coffee, and let cool. When the dough has cool enough, stir in the eggs. Spread on cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool. Then split the cake in half.

For the frosting, melt the butter in a saucepan and mix with other ingredients. Mix until smooth. If the mixture seems too stiff add a little e.g. milk, and if it seems too loose, you can add more powdered sugar. Keep the mixture warm for the frosting. Spread the frosting evenly over the both cake pieces. Lift the other part of the on cake over the other.
Sprinkle with nonpareil, and just Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Snail porridge

The savoury porridges have been so trendy already for a short while, and I found myself thinking of those when I planned the menu for our dinner party on Friday. First I planned to prepare mushroom porridge, but then suddenly Heston Blumenthal, my idol, came to my mind. The legendary Fat Duck’s snail porridge, was under discussion a lot when it was invented, I wanted to try that.

I found few almost similar but still different recipes when I was looking Heston Blumenthal Snail porridge recipe. I have heard that the book recipe is THE one, but because I couldn’t get that into my hands, I had to use one from internet. Or, I thought I do that. At the end, I combined some recipes and added my touch to the dish. I replaced the oats in the porridge with pearl barley and I was very happy about the result. At one day I’m going to try the porridge with oats as well, but I think my version was very nice. This dish was the 3rd course on my 5-course dinner, and the dish size was excellent.

Snail porridge
For 4 person
4-6 cooked snails per person
10 g Parma ham
1 small fennel bulb
400 ml chicken stock
40 g pearl barley
70g snail butter (see recipe below)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp sherry vinegar
3 tsp walnut oil

Finely shred the ham. Slice the fennel as thinly as possible and set aside. Heat the stock in a pan over a high heat and, once simmering, add the barley. Stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and beat in the snail butter. You may find you have to return the pan to the heat, in which case be careful: if it gets too hot, the butter will split, causing the porridge to become grainy. Season generously. Spoon the porridge on to the plates and top with ham. Toss the fennel with the vinegar and walnut oil, season, place on porridge, top with snails and serve.

Snail butter 
12 g whole garlic cloves, peeled
20 g button mushrooms
20 g shallots
100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 g Dijon mustard
10 g ground almonds
2,5 g salt
50 g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
20 g Parma ham

Blanch and refresh the garlic in boiling water three to four times (this might seem excessive, but the garlic will be bitter and aggressive otherwise). Finely chop the mushrooms; peel and finely chop the shallots. Heat 25 g butter in a frying pan and sweat the mushrooms and shallots for five to 10 minutes, until softened. Tip into a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients, then purée until smooth. This will take a few minutes because you'll have to stop the machine intermittently, to scrape the sides. Once puréed, rub the mix through a fine-mesh sieve on to a sheet of cling film and roll into a cylinder. Store in the fridge (it also stores well in the freezer). Then simply cut off segments of butter as and when required.


For the wine, I thought of the region for a good pairing: Burgundy first! You can’t go wrong with a Chardonnay for buttery escargots. My favourite is Laroche Petit Chablis 2015.

My challenge was carrots, yes you read right, carrots. But they do not exists in the dish?? No, they don't, but they were my 2nd dish in a menu, and I wanted to serve same wine with them too. I chose Chardonnay form California because I needed more toasty to the flavour. The wine was Jekel Gravelstone Chardonnay 2014. It was nice, but nothing special. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Romantic Sunday Brunch

Sometimes, actually quite often, on Sunday morning we want to enjoy a homemade breakfast or brunch. My husband loves Eggs Benedict and especially Eggs Royale, and those particular dishes are very common in our table. This Sunday, I wanted to try something else, but something from eggs. I think the Eggs are crucial part of the breakfast or brunch. We end up to cook Eggs Cocotte, a classic French dish. I served it with a homemade sourdough bread which I made in the same morning, since nothing beats the oven-fresh bread.

For the dessert I prepared French toast from Finnish pulla with Rosemary Bilberry sauce. Wow, what a dish! I almost started to cry, it was so damn delicious!

For drinks, my Hubby made smoothie using fresh mango, blood grapefruit and mint leaves. Since the mango wasn’t ripe enough to be very sweet, he added a teaspoon of maple syrup. It made huge difference. The other thing which always make a difference for the brunch, is champagne. For us, champagne is must, as my motto says... No champagne, no brunch ;)

Sunday Brunch Menu

Eggs Cocotte,  Rye sourdough bread
French toast and Rosemary Bilberry sauce, 
fresh blueberries
Mango, Blood grapefruit & Mint Smoothie
Dom Pérignon Champagne Brut 2006


The recipes for the dishes you can find from the links below:

Eggs Cocotte

Brunch needs one egg dish, and our favourite is Eggs Benedict or Eggs Royale, but this recipe is something different. Fos last Sunday's brunch I made Eggs Cocotte, or Ouefs Cocotte in originally, for a change. This is easy but almost as good as Benedicts. Just put all ingredients in to a ramekins and cook. That's all you need to do.

This is more healthy dish than Benedicts since there is no butter involved, just cream is used. But many qualitites which I like in Benedicts, is still in this dish. Eggs with runny yolks, ham and spinach. As an extra, salty cheese gives a nice addition to this dish kind of replacing the feeling of Hollandaise sauce.

Size of this dish is quite small, so if you hungry or do not have anything else with this, I recommend to double the recipe.

Eggs Cocotte
For 2 person
2 large eggs
0,5 dl spinach (cooked/sauteed and cooled)
2-4 slices of prosciutto
30 g brie (or feta or chevre)
2 tbsp cream
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180 C.
Divide spinach, prosciutto and cheese among ramekins, season with black pepper. Crack in an egg and add a half of the cream to each ramekin.

Place bowls in a baking dish, and pour hot water into baking dish until it is halfway up the sides of the bowl. Transfer baking dish to oven, being careful not to let the water splash into the bowls. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until whites are set and the yolk is still soft.

Serve with slice of good quality bread.

Rye Sourdoug bread

I'm not much of a baker, but this bread I can make, and I have never ever manage to ruin it. It is the easiest, yet the most delicious, bread what I have baked. The basic version contains only all purpose flour, but my version has rye flour as well. But effect using the rye flour is, that the dough gets very loose. So you might need to add 0,5 dl all purpose flour extra.

After the bread has cooled just enought I can handle it, I enjoy a bit of it with butter. Nothing else, just a knob of butter on top of the warm bread... 

Rye Sourdough bread
1 bread
6 dl all purpose flour
1 dl rye flour
1/4 tsp active dry yest
 4 dl warm water
1-1,5 tsp salt

In a big bowl mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula or a wooden spoon mix it until well incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours. Add your cast iron pot, lid next to the pot, to the oven and preheat oven to 225 C degrees. After oven reaches the temperature, let it set 15 minutes.

Flour your hands really well and also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pot and let cool before slicing into it and serving.

French toast with Rosemary Blueberry sauce

Bilberry is THE best berry which grows in Finland, to my mind. It is a real superfood. This time I used it as a sauce for my brunch dessert, French toast. I added some rosemary to the sauce, to give the nice earthiness flavor and some lemon zest to give a twist. The combination really worked.

As I mentioned that bilberry is superfood, I think that also French toast is superfood :D Maybe not in a similar way, but it is super good to my soul... And when I make it using Finnish pulla, it is even better.

Many of the french toast recipes contain cinnamon and sugar, but with pulla, sugar does not need to be added since the pulla is already sweet pastry. And instead of cinnamon, I prefer cardamom which, as well, is ingredient of the pulla.

French toast
For 2 person
4 slice of day old Finnish pulla or french bread (about 2-3 cm thick slices)
1 large egg
2 dl milk
butter for cooking

Beat and milk together in a bowl. Place the bread in the bowl and let the bread soak up the egg on one side for about 1 minute, then turn and let soak on other side. Let any excess egg mixture drip off into bowl. Heat frying pan or griddle.

Melt a small amount of butter in pan. Place french toast pieces in pan and fry until golden on first side. Flip and cook other side until golden and crispy.

Rosemary Blueberry sauce
100 g bilberries (or blueberries)
50 g sugar
1 sprig of rosemary
1/4 lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine blueberries, rosemary, sugar and water in a saucepan, bring it to boil. Cook approx. 10 minutes, until sauce has thickened some amount. Cool. Season with lemon juice and zest of lemon.

Mango Mint Smoothie

I don't fancy pure juices, not even it is so trendy nowadays. They are just not enough for me. And my tummy gets ill. The worst for my tummy is orange juice. But I like smoothies, and fruities.

This drink, is my favourite for lazy Sunday brunch, maybe because I love mango, and I love herbs. Combining them, can’t go wrong… Quite many herbs goes nice with mango. Or what you think? To get some acidity to the drink, I have used orange or lemon, and now I tried blood grapefruit. All of them are good, but the amount needs to be considered. Don’t put lemon as much as more sweet orange. But is this smoothie?

I call is a smoothie, but maybe it really is fruitie, since there are no milk products used. For me, name is not the important one, and you can call it either you want. But, do enjoy the taste!don't fancy pure juice, not even it is so trendy nowadays.

Mango Mint Smoothie
for 2 person
1 ripe mango
1 blood grapefruit
15-20 mint leaves
1 tsp maple syrap (optional)
1,5-2 dl ice

Add all ingredients to the blender. Blend well. Garnish with some mint and serve right away.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Roasted Vegetable Soup

When I was a kid, my first choice for the supper wasn't vegetable soup. I didn't hate it, but it really wasn't my favourite either. From very early ages, my mouth has required strong flavours and different textures. Which is everything else than vegetable soup can offer, -or at least I thought so. All I knew was lukewarm soup looked someone has eaten it already once...

Then something happened when I started to lose weight. I wanted to find dishes which were low calorie, preferable high protein, but definitely delicious. Have to honest, it was pretty easy :D With these specifications, I found pumpkin soup seasoned with Moroccan style. It was so good that I gave another change to the veggie soup. Using that recipe as a base I started to create different variations, and this one below, is the last one. It really doesn't have much common with the original version, but I think this is even better. Maybe the only thing common is vegetable stock.

For the texture I usually add e.g. roasted chickpeas, crispy bacon, roasted onion or whatever comes to my mind. This time the fridge was quite empty, so I didn't add anything, except cottage cheese for protein.

Roasted veggie soup
For 4 persons
500 g butternut squash
1 (large) onion
400 g carrot
200 g parsnip
1-2 potato
2 garlic clove
1 tbsp ras el hanout
2 tsp cumin
1 small dried chili (or to taste)
salt & black pepper
1½-2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 l hot vegetable stock

Heat oven to 225 °C. Peel all veggies. Cut onion into 8 wedges. Cut butternut squash, carrots, parsnip and potato into 2 cm chunks. Tip all the vegetables and the garlic into a roasting tin. Sprinkle over the ras el hanout, cumin, chili, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the oil and give everything a good stir. Roast for 40-45 min, turning the vegetables over halfway, until they’re tender and caramelized nicely.

Transfer the roasted veggies to a large saucepan, pour over the hot stock and simmer for 10 min. Purée the soup until smooth. Add vegetable stock if the soup is too thick.

Serve with a dollop of yogurt or cottage cheese, a scattering of coriander. If you like the soup to be more spicy, add some chili oil on top of the soup as well.

With this soup, my preference is beer. Since the soup has sweetness and quite strong flavours in it, Stallhagen Delikat would be very nice choice.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chanterelle "Carbonara" - autumn flavors from the forest

There is one thing I particularly love in Finnish forests, and that's the wild mushrooms. You can't find as good them from anywhere else in the world. They are simply the best, and the variety is more than great. Only thing that keeps me not collecting them all, is the fact, that I don't recognize all species. And there are poisonous mushrooms as well in our forests. I have sometimes tried to find english names for our mushrooms, but the result has been bit poor, so I call them all mushrooms or wild mushrooms. Sorry about that!

This dish can be eaten as a main course or as a starter, -your choise. But the risk is that you eat too much of this as a starter, and there is no room left in your belly for the main. Either way, hope you enjoy!!

Fresh Pasta
for 2 persons
325 ml all-purpose flour or preferably Tipo ‘00’ flour
2 eggs
1tsp salt
Cold water if needed

Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, add salt and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Add water if needed. Knead the dough until silky and firm.
Wrap the dough into the plastic wrap and let it rest in a fridge, at least half an hour.
Create/roll any shape of a pasta, this time I rolled pappardelle. Boil in a salted water until al dente, approx. 1,5-2 minutes.

More detailed instructions you can find e.g. The Science of the Best Fresh Pasta

Chanterelle "Carbonara"
For 2 person
2 handfull of fresh chanterelle (or any other wild mushrooms)
1 tbsp butter
0,5 garlic clove finely chopped
1 shallot chopped
2 eggs
100 g pecorino cheese
Black pepper and salt to taste

Chop the mushrooms if you wish. Grate half of the pecorino. Melt the butter in medium heat and cook mushroom, onions and garlic. Mix eggs and grated pecorino in another bowl. Season. When pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan with mushroom mix. Pour the egg-cheese mixture to the pan, stir, but do not cook. If you heat the mix too much, eggs turn to a scambled.
Place the dish to a plate and slice the rest of the pecorino on top of it.


I have a great wine tip for this dish as well; Masciarelli Montepulciano D'Abruzzo. The wine upgrades the mushrooms in to a next level goes well with pasta because of its soft flavors and gentle tannins.

Even though I said this wine is great with mushroom pasta, but it is perfect with the Cep risotto... Try it!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Tribute to Finnish superfoods

Whipped porridges are quite common Finnish dishes, like porriges overall, and usually these whipped versions are made of semolina. The berries varies a lot, but the most favourite ones are lingonberry and redcurrant. But you can use any berries you like. The dish is often served as a dessert, with cold milk, since it is sweet. Altough, it can easily be a light lunch or breakfast as well, especially if the amount of sugar is reduced.

Today I wanted to prepare whipped porridge for light lunch, because we have done nothing but eaten all weekend. We celebrated our friend's 40th birthday and had so many nice breakfasts, lunches and dinners. So today it was good idea to eat a bit lighter... Instead of semolina I chose more healthier option for the flour, I used rye. And for berries, my preference is always bilberry. I just love them. So Finnish and so healthy!

If you haven't tried this dish yet, I really recommend to do so. What could be more Finnish than this?? A real superfoods!

Whipped Blueberry Rye Porridge
for 4 person
1 l water
pinch of salt
0,5 l blueberries (preferably bilberries)
100 ml sugar (optional, if you like sweet. I didn't use any)
300 ml rye flour

Boil the water in a pot, add salt and bilberries. Bring to a boil. Start adding rye flour whipping at the same time to avoid clods. After all flour has been added, cook over low heat 15 minutes. Let it cool.
Using mixer, whip the porridge until fluffy and light.
Enjoy with cold milk!

Friday, June 3, 2016

It's rhubarb time!

Rhubarb is one of the first season foods at spring. At least here in Finland. Every year I decide to make pie or a cake, and most of the times I try something new. This year I found recipe that sounded so good from the maganize of Glorian Ruoka & Viini. One of the ingredients was Bailey's and that was all it needs to convince me. It had to be good, - and it really was!

The cake itself is quite dry and it crumbles easily, but I enjoyed it still. Maybe next time I moisten the cake with something, e.g. with Bailey's...

75 ml potato flour 

1 tsp baking powder 
100 ml almond flour 
3 eggs 
175 ml sugar 
Rhubarb compote 
2 leaves of gelatine 
250 g of rhubarb 
200 ml sugar for jam (hillosokeri) 
25 ml water 
0.5 tsp cardamom 
50 g butter 
75 ml sugar 
100 g almond flakes 
2 tsp corn starch 
2 tbsp double cream 
Rhubarb and cheese filling 
4 leaves of gelatine 
200 g of marcarpone 
100 ml cream liqueur (eg. Bailey's) 
200 ml whipping cream 
Rhubarb compote 
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees.  
Grease the pan with butter . Make the cake base. Sift the potato flour and baking powder into the almond flour. Whip the eggs and sugar until fluffy and light. Gently invert the flour mixture to the egg-sugar mixture. Pour the batter into the cake pan (diameter 18-20 cm) and cook 30-35 minutes. Take the cake from the oven and let it cool. The cake will fall slightly during cooling. 
Rhubarb compote
Put the gelatine leaves in cold water. Peel the rhubarb if needed, and chop them in a pot. Add the sugar, water and cardamom. Bring to a boil and skim the surface. Let it simmer until the rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. Squeeze the water out of the gelatin and mix them in a bowl with compote. Let it cool.  
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Apply the mixture on a baking tray with baking paper and bake in a 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the maturation of brittle, so that the sheet edges do not burn. Take a brittle from the oven and allow to cool. 
Make the filling, after the rhubarb compote has cooled down. Put the gelatine leaves in cold water. Mix the Mascarpone and cream liqueur in a bowl. Whip the cream and mix it with cheese mixture. Squeeze the gelatin and mix with boiling water 2 tablespoons hot water so that the gelatin will melt. Stir the gelatine into the filling. Add rhubarb compote and stir just a little bit, if you want it to have the rhubard compote strips. You can also mix the filling until smooth. 

Remove the cake from the pan and cut it into two parts. Wash the pan and stretch the new baking paper on the bottom of it (you can also assemble the cake directly serving platform, so that you only need a springform tin edges). Lift the lower slice of the cake tin. If the cake base has shrunk slightly during cooling, make the cake tins baking paper slightly higher strips and roll them along the edges of the cake to support the cheese mass. Attach the ends of the strips of paper to each other even if the paper clip. Pour the filling into baking dish. Lift the top base of the cake on top of the filling. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and move to the refrigerator. You can (and should) do this cake a day before serving. Decorate with brittle and powdered sugar. 

Enjoy the cake with nice cup of coffee and Bailey's or with sparkling wine!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Korean stir fry glass noodles, Japchae, 잡채

When I visited first time in Korea, I ate noodles which were different, but amazingly delicious. Some time later I found out that the dish I loved so much is made of sweet potato starch noodles, and it is called Japchae, 잡채, Korean stir fry glass noodles. This dish can be eaten as a main course, side dish or appetizer, I usually prepare this as a side dish, or banchan as they say in Korea.

Japchae can be done either vegetarian version or with meat, usually beef. The noodles itself are called Dang-myeon. They have a unique and pleasant texture, and don't feel heavy like flour-based pastas.

For 4 person
150 g glass noodles (dang-myeon)
½ onion  

1 carrot (medium size)
50 g shiitake mushrooms
50 g spinach
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt, black pepper to taste 

4 tbsp soy sause
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp garlic (minced)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds

Make the seasoning by mixing all ingredients together.
Peel the carrot and onion and julienne them. Slice the mushrooms. 
Boil nice amount of water and add noodles, cook 6 minutes. Rinse glass noodles twice in cold water. Drain all the water out using a strainer.
Coat a frying pan with 1vegetable oil. Sauté carrot and onion 2-3 minutes, add mushrooms and continue cooking until they are tender. Add spinach.
Add noodles and pour the seasoning sauce into the glass noodles and mix well.
Sauté the glass noodles mixture on medium heat until all the noodles are warm.
Sprinkle sesame seeds as a garnish. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Crème ninon - French green pea soup

Crème ninon is one of the classics in French cuisine. This soup is made of fresh green peas and finalized with champagne. It is also one of my classics in my own kitchen. When I want to serve something very delicious yet easy, I prepare this. I usually serve this as a starter, but especially in summertimes when it's hot, this is very nice dish for light lunch. I see this dish perfect for spring and summer time, but one one gives you complaints if you decide to have it in any other seasons as well.

Crème ninon
For 4 person
400 g frozen green peas
500 ml chicken stock
1 shallot
20 g butter
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
100 ml champagne (or sparkling wine)
100 ml cream
salt & pepper to taste

Peel and chop the onion. Melt the butter in a pot over the medium heat. Add the onios and cook them a moment. Add flour and cook a moment more. Add chicken stock and bay leaf. Stir well and bring to a boil. Simmer approx. 10 minutes and then add the peas. Simmer another 5 minutes. Add soup the blender and blend until smooth. Sieve soup back to the pot, season with salt and pepper. Whip cream until you get loose consistency. Heat the soup just before serving, add whipped cream and champagne. Stir gently and serve immediately.

Original recipe: Hiltunen, Nyströn: Kokki ja viinikauppias Ranskassa

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Divine veggie burger

What can I say about these burgers... except they are divine... Well they are vegetarian, but I bet that carnivores would love them too. These are the best vege-burgers that I have ever made, and probably they are the the best vege-burgers I have eaten. Usually the patties in vegetarian burgers are awful mush made of grated over-cooked vegetables without any flavor. These are not anything like that.

I personally like the roasted flavor of beets, perky lime juice and sweetness from the sweet potatoes, all mixed together. Parsley gives some earthiness to this burger, and that is the reason I really really love these. Instead of bun, you can serve these even using salad leaves, and they are still fabulous.

Veggie Burger
For 4 person
4 good quality burger bun per person
4 Beetroot-quinoa patties
Avokado sauce
Sweet potato fries

Make patties, sauce and fries using the recipes below.
Grill nice color to bun and make sure they are warm.
Fill all ingredients and enjoy!

Beetroot-quinoa patties 
4 medium size beets, peeled and cut in half
2 tbsp canola oil
100 ml quinoa
1 onion
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 egg
2 tsp Sonnentor BBQ spice mix
1 red chili, finely chopped
salt & black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 200 °C.
Peel beets and onion. Chop the onions finely. Cut beets in half and place them into a pan. Drizzle 1 tbsp oil over the beets and mix until oil covers all beets. Bake until soft (approx. 1 hour). Let them cool.
Cook the quinoa as instructed in box. Let it cool.
Heat the 1 tbsp oil over the medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender and fragrant. It is totally ok to caramelize them a bit.
Mix beets, quinoa, onion, garlic and all spices together and mix. Add egg and mix well. Shape to patties. Cook them over a medium heat until they are crisp on outside, flip and repeat. Be careful when flipping the patties, since they break very easily!

Avocado sauce 
1 ripe avocado
1 lime juice
Mix lime juice and peeled avocado together, e.g. using hand mixer. Season with salt.

Sweet potato fries 
1 sweet potato
1 tsp corn starch (e.g. Maizena)
1 tbsp canola oil salt to taste

Preheat oven to 225°C and warm your baking tray in an oven.
Peel the sweet potato and cut it medium thickness. Not hugely thick cut and not shoestring. Cut all your fries into the same size so that they all cook at the same rate.
Soak fries in cold water for around an hour – a half a day for maximum crispiness! Dry them.
Dump sweet potatoes into the bag with the cornstarch. Then give sweet potatoes you drop in the cornstarch a good shake. Twist the top of the bag so it forms a balloon with some air inside and shake the fries around until they’re lightly coated with the cornstarch.
Put coated fries on a non-stick cookie sheet. Drizzle oil over the fries. Using your hands, make sure the fries are well coated.
Put the fries into oven and cook for 15 minutes. Check the fries after 15 minutes, flip them over and bake them another 10-15 minutes. The timing really depends on the size of your fry, the heat of your oven and how well your pan conducts heat. Season with salt.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Shakshuka - Eggs in fiery veggie stew

Sometimes vegetarian food is more than welcome, and yesterday was one of those days. My husband isn't a fan of vege food, except when it is seasoned very well. And this dish is! So comforting and full of strong middle eastern flavours. I really love this dish. And if you try it, you'll love it too.

This dish has many different names; Shakshuka, Chakchouka, Shakshouka, etc. But what ever the name is, it's always great dish.

For 6 persons
1 aubergine
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 large onions
4 cloves of garlic
4 small potatoes
2 red chilies finely chopped
4 tomatoes
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ras el hanout
70 g tomato puree (1 can)
250 g chickpeas (cooked)
100 ml chopped parsley
100 ml chopped cilantro
400 ml water
salt, black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 150°C
Dice aubergine, peppers and potatoes. Peel the onions and cut roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Cut the tomatoes into wedges.
Heat the oil in a pot over a medium heat, add aubergine, peppers, onions and potatoes. Add paprika, cumin and ras el hanout as well. Cook approx. 5 minutes.
Add tomato puree, tomatoes and garlic cloves, continue cooking few minutes.
Add chickpeas, water and season with salt and black pepper.
Place the pot into an oven and cook 2-2,5 hours.

Transfer wanted amount (for 2 persons: 1/3) of the sauce into a smaller frying pan.
Make small indentations (1 egg per person) in the sauce, and gently crack an egg into each one. Cover the pan, and cook until the eggs are as runny, or firm, as you like them (I cook mine for 10 minutes, covered, which makes a runny egg).
Garnish with chopped parsley and cilantro, and serve right away. 

Idea for this recipe is originally from Tero Lilja, Restaurant Lämpö

Friday, January 15, 2016

Roasted beetroot and carrot soup with sour cream

There was large bag beets in our fridge, and I wanted to use them someway. My original thought was to make Borscht soup, but because I didn't have cabbage, I couldn't do that. So after few moments of thinking, roasted beetroot soup came to my mind.

I made it using not only beets but carrots and onion as well. And this time I decided to puree the soup, but it is as good, if you don't want to do that. Your choice! But one thing you can't miss, is the sour cream, without that, the soup doesn't work. At least no so well...

Beetroot soup
For 4 persons 
3 large beets, peeled and diced into large pieces
2 carrots
1 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp canola oil
1,5 l vegetable broth
1 branch rosemary
2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream and rosemary for garnish

Preheat oven to 190 °C. Peel beets and carrots and dice them. Then place them in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss to distribute the oil well. Roast veggies, turning once or twice during roasting, for 60 minutes (or until tender). When the roasted veggies are cool enough to handle, chop them as finely as possible or grate them.
Put the remaining oil in a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Turn down heat to medium-low and continue cooking the onions until golden and very tender (10 to 15 minutes).
Add the chopped garlic clove, beets and carrots, along with the stem of the rosemary and broth to cover. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup is ready, approximately 30 minutes. Remove the Rosemary branch. Puree the soup if you wish.
Add the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with rosemary.