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.