15 Dec 2017

Salmon Appetizers



 I love Christmas and its preparations, the festivity and the feel of waiting. How early do you start to preparing for your Christmas? This post is a part of my annual Christmas series on the blog! Check my Christmas Calendar, too!

Just a bit over a week to make Christmas preparations! I'm equally thrilled and petrified of getting everything done. This year we'll be celebrating the holidays at the cottage in the archipelago and it feels so thrilling! If there's one thing I want to eat during Christmas, it's salmon: gravadlax is the way to go, but cold-smoked salmon is a good substitute, too. These Salmon Appetizers bring together two ingredients from the seaside: salmon and "archipelago bread". "The archipelago bread" is sweet, made partly with malted rye, which gives it a special flavour. It goes well with fish. In addition to Christmas, these would be perfect for your New Year Eve Cocktail Party!

Other cocktail party suggestions:
Cognac Summit, a cold cognac cocktail
Eggs with Salmon Roe

If you're a Christmas addict as I, please remember to subscribe to my Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or via RSS to not miss any posts! 

Salmon Appetizers

makes 16 small pieces

8 slices of dark bread, each about 5x5 cm

150g+50 g smoked salmon
150 g crème fraîche
a small red onion, diced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
a few twigs of fresh dill, chopped (save the prettiest parts for decoration)
black pepper
(salt)

Chop 150 g salmon finely (save the rest for decorating). Mix with crème fraîche, red onion, lemon juice and dill. Season with black pepper. Place in fridge to let the flavours get even (at least 15-30 minutes) and then check the salt after awhile (salmon is quite salty by itself). Cut the bread slices in half to make them into triangles. Top the slices with salmon topping. Decorate with the rest of the salmon and with a little twig of dill.

Lohileivät 

16 palaa

8 viipaletta tummaa leipää (saaristolaislimppu tms), leikattuna 5x5 cm paloiksi

150g+50 g kylmäsavustettua lohta
150 g ranskankermaa
pieni punasipuli, hienoksi kuutioituna
1 rkl sitruunamehua
muutama oksa tuoretta tilliä, silputtuna (säästä kauneimmat osat koristeluun)
mustapippuria

(suolaa)

Hienonna 150 g kylmäsavulohta ja sekoita se ranskankermaan punasipulin, sitruunamehun ja tillin kanssa. Mausta pippurilla. Anna makujen tasaantua jääkaapissa hetki (n. 15-30 min) ja tarkista suola. Leikkaa leipäpalat kolmioiksi ja lusikoi täyte keoiksi niiden päälle. Koristele lopulla lohella ja tillillä.

13 Dec 2017

Tips on Gingerbread House Baking




Crucial in making gingerbread houses is to bake the parts so that they keep their form. I've given a recipe for a very good gingerbread dough earlier. It works really well for gingerbread houses.

Here are my tips to help you through the house making:

-Prepare the dough at least one day before you plan to roll the parts.
-Cut the parts from cardboard or baking paper and use them as a guide to cut the parts
from the dough. Be very precise with the measurements.
-If you haven't done any houses before, use readymade patterns.
-Roll the cold dough directly on the baking paper. You can put a couple drops of water
under the paper to help it cling to the table. Use some flour to prevent the dough from
sticking.
-Cut the parts, move the baking paper on a baking tray. Brush off extra flour. Straighten
the edges, if they got distorted during the moving process.
-Bake the parts just until they start to get colour on the edges.
-The dough will be soft when you take the parts from the oven. If they haven't kept their
original form, you can use a knife to remodel them, but be quick as they'll get soon hard
and then crack easily.
-Try the parts together once they have hardened: if they don't fit, you can use a grater to
even their edges. But be careful to not break them.
-Decorate the parts as you wish (royal icing, streusels, candy,... the sky is the limit). Let
the decorations dry completely before the assembly.
-Use melted sugar to glue the pieces together. It's the best glue there is in my opinion.
It's a bit dangerous as the sugar gets so hot, so be careful! You have to be very quick also.
-Once the house is assembled, you can pipe more royal icing on the edges to hide cracks
or melted sugar strikes or sieve some powder sugar on top to mimic snow.

Actually I'm not sure, if I should be giving any tips. My latest gingerbread house building was full of problems from start to finish: The royal icing was too thin and I didn't like most of the pipings. I designed the house quite big and the assembling part was difficult. Some of the walls were bent from the start despite my best efforts. I broke the porch while assembling it. The roof parts didn't somehow fit properly and after assembly they started bending the walls even more. Despite the ugly appearance I got comments that I should finish it. So I had to make more dough in order to continue and make the porch parts again. I had also lost the patterns meanwhile so I had make them again too. I managed to straighten the roof and walls but the other roof part cracked a bit... I still got the house assembled and managed to hide some of the holes. Then when I was taking photos, I noticed that I had misspelled the name of the house (it's actually a real building quite near from where I live) LOL. That was the last seal to my misery haha.

11 Dec 2017

Oven-roasted "Rosolli" Root Vegetables - Uunirosolli



I love oven-roasted beetroots! Here they are combined with mainly other rosolli ingredients benefiting from roasting too: carrots, parsnips, onions and apples!

Rosolli is a traditional Finnish Christmas salad: it consists mainly of cooked beetroots, beetroots in vinegar, carrots, potatoes, pickled gherkins and apples and you can top it with herring and cooked eggs. I find the original one offers nice contrast to the Christmas casseroles as it's served cold, tastes acidic and is not a puree. Rosolli is sometimes served with the "pink sauce" which is whipped cream seasoned with horseradish and coloured pink with the beetroot liquid. I remember how I wanted to taste it as a child (because pink foods!!!) and then when I got to it, it tasted so bad :D (Pink food, but tasting acidic and root-y... too much contrast to a seven-year-old). Though this "rosolli" is served warm and the taste is not acidic, it suits the Christmas table well. You could actually serve it instead of the casseroles.

I love Christmas and its preparations, the festivity and the feel of waiting. How early do you start to preparing for your Christmas? This post is a part of my annual Christmas series on the blog! Check my Christmas Calendar, too! If you're a Christmas addict as I, please remember to subscribe to my Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or via RSS to not miss any posts!  


Oven-roasted Root Vegetables, or a warm "rosolli"

serves 4 as a side

4 beets
2 carrots
2 small (red) onions
1 parsnip
1 apple
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
black pepper
100 ml creme fraiche + 50 ml light cream/milk

Preheat the oven to 225 C. Peel and cut the vegetables. Toss them in oil on a baking tray/dish, and season with salt and thyme (and pepper). Dot the dish with a mixture of creme fraiche and cream or milk. Roast in the oven for about 50-60 min. If the vegetables start getting colour too soon, lower the heat to 200 C and cover them with a foil.

(The beets take the longest to cook, so cut them small enough to cook with the rest of the vegetables or roast them for 10 minutes before adding the rest of the vegetables.)

Uunirosolli


4 punajuurta
2 porkkanaa
2 pientä punasipulia
1 palsternakka
1 omena
1 rkl rypsiöljyä
1/2 tl suolaa
1 tl kuivattua timjamia
(mustapippuria)
1 dl ranskankermaa + 0,5 dl maitoa/kevytkermaa

Esilämmitä uuni 225 asteeseen. Kuori ja paloittele kasvikset. Laita ne uunivuokaan ja pyörittele öljyssä ja mausta suolalla, timjamilla (ja halutessasi pippurilla). Lusikoi maidolla/kermalla ohennettu ranskankerma sinne tänne. Paahda uunissa n. 50-60 min. Alenna uuninlämpöä tarvittaessa ja peitä kasvikset foliolla tai leivinpaperilla.

(Punajuuret kypsyvät hitaammin kuin muut ainekset, joten leikkaa ne riittävän pieniksi tai kypsennä niitä n. 10 minuuttia ennen muiden juuresten lisäämistä.)

Adapted from Hyvää joulua by Teresa Välimäki et al.


9 Dec 2017

Winter's Carrot & Cabbage Salad - Talven porkkana-kaalisalaatti


  

I love this simple winter salad, which is tasty and crunchy! It compliments the season's vegetables, too: cabbage and carrot, which both keep well over the long winter months and contain lots of vitamins and colour to help us through the long and dark winter. (Did you know that cabbage has a high vitamin C content and that white and red cabbage especially have lots of flavonoids?)

If you love red cabbage, check these ones too:
La Croquante -salaatti (in Finnish only)

Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad


400 g red cabbage
4 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
4 big carrots, peeled
salt, pepper
a bunch of fresh cilantro
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Slice cabbage as thinly as you can (I prefer doing it with a peeling knife or with the slicing tool of my food processor). Toss the cabbage slices with lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil. If your cabbage slices are not very thin, give them a good squeeze as it will make them softer. Leave to macerate for about 15 minutes.

Slice carrots thinly and mix them with the cabbage. Add the cilantro leaves and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. 

Porkkana-kaalisalaatti


400 g punakaalia
4 rkl kylmäpuristettua oliivi- tai rypsiöljyä
1 rkl sitruunamehua
1 rkl punaviinietikkaa
4 isoa porkkanaa, kuorittuna
suolaa, pippuria
nippu korianteria
paahdettuja seesaminsiemeniä

Siivuta kaali mahdollisimman ohuesti (kuorimaveitsi, juustohöylä tai monitoimikoneen siivutusterä toimivat hyvin). Marinoi kaalisuikaleet sitruunamehulla, viinietikalla, suolalla, pippurilla ja öljyllä. Jos kaalisuikaleesi jäivät hieman paksuiksi, puristele ainekset hyvin kaalin joukkoon, jotta suikaleet pehmenevät. Jätä marinoitumaan noin 15 minuutiksi.

Siivuta porkkanat pitkiksi nauhoiksi ja sekoita korianterinlehtien kanssa kaalin joukkoon. Koristele paahdetuilla seesaminsiemenillä.




7 Dec 2017

Old Xmas Favorites: Chocolate semifreddo - Suklaajäädyke


 

I love Christmas and its preparations, the festivity and the feel of waiting. How early do you start to preparing for your Christmas? This post is a part of my annual Christmas series on the blog! Check my Christmas Calendar, too!

This dessert has been a steady Christmas favorite in my family for many many years. It's like very chocolate-y ice cream, yummy! When you serve it, remember to take it to room temperature about 15-30 minutes beforehand, otherwise it's too hard to cut.





 If you're a Christmas addict as I, please remember to subscribe to my Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or via RSS to not miss any posts!

 

Chocolate Semifreddo

for 6

100 g dark chocolate
50 g white chocolate
300 ml heavy cream
3 egg yolks
45 g (~100 ml) powdered sugar
1 Tbsp espresso powder
1 Tbsp cognac or whiskey
50 g dark chocolate, cut to small bits

chocolate shavings* and gingerbread, for garnishing

Melt 100 g dark chocolate and 50 g white chocolate separately. Whisk egg yolks with sugar into light and airy mass. Combine with whipped cream. Move 1/3 to another bowl (I'm reusing the bowl I whipped the cream, as the amount of dishes is gigantic already) and stir in the melted white chocolate. Add themelted dark chocolate, espresso powder and alcohol to another bowl and pour half of themixture to a dish. Pour the white chocolate mixture on top and then half the chocolate bits (mix the remaining chocolatebits to the dark chocolate mixture and pour it on top of the white layer. Freeze at least 4 hours. Let it thaw for 15-30 minutes before serving. Garnish with chocolate shavings and gingerbread.


*How to make beautiful chocolate shavings: Use a long, sturdy knife: hold it from both ends horisontally and press the edge against a block of chocolate. Then pull the edge towards yourself while pressing the edge on the chocolate.


Suklaajäädyke

6:lle

100 g tummaa suklaata
50 g valkoista suklaata
3 dl kuohukermaa
3 keltuaista
45 g (n. 1 dl) tomusokeria
1 rkl espressojauhetta
1 rkl konjakkia tai viskiä
50 g rouhittua tummaa suklaata

suklaalastuja* ja piparkakkuja viimeistelyyn

Sulata 100 g tummaa suklaata ja 50 g valkoista suklaata erikseen. Vispaa keltuaiset ja sokeri sekä toisessa kulhossa kerma. Yhdistä vaahdot ja siirrä 1/3 siitä toiseen kulhoon (hyödynnän tässä yleensä kerman vaahdottamiseen käytettyä kulhoa, koska tiskin määrä on jo muutenkin giganttinen)ja sekoita siihen sulatettu valkoinen suklaa. Sekoita isompaan vaahtomäärään sulatettu tumma suklaa, kahvijauhe ja konjakki. Kaada puolet tummasta seoksesta vuokaan, kaada päälle valkoinen seos ja ripottele puolet rouhitusta suklaasta päälle. Sekoita loput rouhitusta suklaasta jäljellä olevaan tummaan seokseen ja kaada se vielä vuokaan. Peitä foliolla ja laita pakastimeen vähintään 4 tunniksi. Ota n. 15 minuuttia ennen tarjoamista huoneenlämpöön pehmenemään. Koristele esim. suklaalastuilla ja piparkakuilla.

*Kuinka tehdä kauniita suklaalastuja: Avaa suklaalevy, mutta jätä käärettä sen alle ja ainakin toiseen päähän, jotta voit tukea levyä vatsaasi vasten. Käytä pitkäteräistä, tukevaa veistä pitäen sitä kiinni niin, että terä on poikittain suklaalevyyn nähden: toisella kädellä terästä ja toisella kahvasta. Paina terää kevyesti suklaata vasten ja vedä sitä itseäsi kohti. Suklaa rullautuu kauniisti, kunhan se ei ole liian kylmää (tai myöskään liian lämmintä).

3 Dec 2017

Gingerbread Syrup - Piparisiirappi




With this gingerbread syrup you can spice up your porridge, ice cream and drinks! I started immediately craving for a gingerbread latte... The syrup keeps well in a glass bottle and also serves as a nice little Christmas present if you decorate the bottle with a beautiful ribbon.

I love Christmas and its preparations, the festivity and the feel of waiting. How early do you start to preparing for your Christmas? This post is a part of my annual Christmas series on the blog! If you're a Christmas addict as I, please remember to subscribe to my Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or via RSS to not miss any posts!

 

Gingerbread syrup


Preparation time: 10 minutes 
Yield: ~150 ml syrup

100 g brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground bitter orange peel
½ tsp ground cardamom
100 ml water

Boil all ingredients in a pot and let the mixture bubble for 5 minutes on low heat. Pour into a sterilized bottle. Decorate with a beautiful ribbon and a cinnamon stick.



Piparisiirapilla saat niin puuron, jäätelön kuin juomatkin joulunmakuisiksi. Lisäksi siirappi säilyy hyvin suljetussa lasipullossa ja toimii myös ihanana ruokalahjana kauniilla nauhalla koristettuun lasipulloon laitettuna.

Piparisiirappi


Valmistusaika: 10 min
~150 ml siirappia

100 g tummaa sokeria
1 rkl kanelia
1 tl inkivääriä
1 tl pomeranssinkuorta
½ tl kardemummaa
1 dl vettä

Kiehauta kaikki ainekset kattilassa ja anna kuplia hiljalleen noin 5 minuuttia. Kaada steriloituun pulloon ja koristele pullo esim. kauniilla nauhalla ja kanelitangolla.

1 Dec 2017

Gingerbread bites - Piparpallot


If you love eating raw gingerbread dough (I'd say not to trust anyone who prefers baked gingerbread to dough), you'll love these gingerbread bites too. It tastes exactly like raw gingerbread dough, but is much easier for your stomach! These are also a perfect treat to give as a present: they are vegan, gluten-free (if you choose gluten-free oats), have no added sugar [and did I already mention: extremely addictive (like real gingerbread dough, but healthier)].

I love Christmas and its preparations, the festivity and the feel of waiting. How early do you start to preparing for your Christmas? This post starts my annual Christmas series on the blog! If you're a Christmas addict as I, please remember to subscribe to my Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or via RSS to not miss any posts!

P.S. Have you noticed that I finally published an About page ^_^



Gingerbread Bites

~20 pieces

200 g (=18-20) fresh, soft dates
100 ml rolled oats (can be instant type, too)
50 ml toasted and de-skinned hazelnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Measure everything except the dates to a food processor. Grind the ingredients into fine powder (it doesn't matter if some hazelnut pieces remain). Remove the stones from the dates. Add half of the dates and process until they have broken to small pieces (at this point it's quite dry still). Add the rest of the dates and process until a ball forms. Roll the dough into bitesize pieces in your palms. You can serve them as is, or roll them in crushed hazelnuts or decorate them with a whole hazelnut. They can be eaten straight away, but I find the texture becomes better and the flavours enhance after 1 day in fridge. They keep at least a week in fridge (that is, if not eaten before...)

Adapted from Helsingin Sanomat.


Piparpallot

~20 kpl

200 g tuoreita, pehmeitä taateleita (18-20 kpl)
1 dl kaurahiutaleita
1/2 dl paahdettuja ja kuorittuja hasselpähkinöitä
1 tl kanelia
1 mmt (1/4 tl) inkivääriä
1 mmt (1/4 tl) kardemummaa

Mittaa taateleita lukuunottamatta kaikki ainekset monitoimikoneeseen. Jauha ainekset hienoksi (ei haittaa vaikka osa hasselpähkinöistä jäisikin vähän karkeaksi). Poista kivet taateleista. Lisää puolet taateleista monitoimikoneeseen ja anna koneen käydä, kunnes taatelit ovat hajonneet (tässä vaiheessa massa on vielä melko kuivaa). Lisää loput taatelit ja anna koneen käydä, kunnes massasta muodostuu pallo. Pyörittele taikinasta suupalan kokoisia palloja. Voit tarjota ne sellaisenaan tai pyöritellä ne esim. pähkinärouheessa tai koristella kokonaisella kasselpähkinällä. Maku ja koostumus paranevat, jos annat niiden levätä jääkaapissa yhden päivän, mutta voi ne nauttia hetikin. Säilyvät ainakin viikon jääkaapissa (elleivät tule syödyksi ennen...).

Mukailtu HS:n ohjeesta.


19 Nov 2017

Bean & Carrot Salad - Papu-porkkanasalaatti




I was reminded of this bean salad by a Cookie+Kate chickpea salad. It was many, many years ago I had last made it (I don't think I even have the recipe anywhere). I made it a couple times then and as it was quite an easy one remember, so of course by now I had forgotten about everything... So I'm very pleased I could find the old recipe.



It's such a simple and versatile salad as most of the ingredients can be stored ages in cupboard or fridge (like for instance carrots, chickpeas etc). I usually have some leftover celery (why oh why isn't celery sold by stalks rather than as a whole bunch? Most dishes require max. 2-3 stalks and the whole celery must contain at least 10 or even more stalks... That's why I try to make celery containing foods in a row to reduce wastage.) It's fine without it too, if you don't like it, but I think it adds more crunch to the salad and adds up nicely with the other flavours.


Bean & Carrot Salad

serves at least 5-6 as a side

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 230 g)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (about 230 g)
1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced
1-2 shallots, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

250 g green beans
3 big carrots
3 Tbsp parsley (or as much as you like)

Combine the chickpeas, kidney beans, celery, shallot and crushed garlic in a salad bowl. Pour over the oil and vinegar. Sprinkle on some salt (and pepper), stir and leave to marinate while you prepare the green beans: trim the ends and cook the green beans in salted water until just about done (mine took about 7-8 minutes). Rinse them with cold water to keep them green.

Grate the carrots and chop up the parsley. Add the green beans, grated carrots and half of the parsley to the salad bowl. Sprinkle the rest of the parsley on top and serve as a side. 

Papu-porkkanasalaatti

ainakin 5-6:lle lisukkeena

1 tlk kikherneitä, huuhdottuna ja valutettuna (noin 230 g)
1 tlk kidneypapuja, huuhdottuna ja valutettuna (noin 230 g)
1 sellerinvarsi, hyvin ohuesti viipaloituna
1-2 shalottisipulia, hienoksi kuutioituna
3 rkl kylmäpuristettua oliiviöljyä
2 rkl punaviinietikkaa tai balsamiviinietikkaa
1 valkosipulinkynsi
1/4-1/2 tl suolaa
mustapippuria

250 g vihreitä papuja
3 porkkanaa 
3 rkl tuoretta persiljaa 

Laita kidneypavut, kikherneet, viipaloitu selleri, kuutioitu sipuli ja murskattu valkosipulinkynsi kulhoon. Kaada päälle öljy ja etikka ja mausta suolalla ja pippurilla. Anna marinoitua sillä välin, kun valmistelet vihreät pavut: Keitä vihreät pavut suolatussa vedessä, kunnes ne ovat juuri ja juuri kypsiä (minulla siihen meni 7-8 minuuttia). Valuta ja huuhtele kylmällä vedellä, jotta niiden väri pysyy kirkkaanvihreänä. 

Raasta porkkanat ja silppua persilja. Yhdistä vihreät pavut, porkkanaraaste ja puolet persiljasta salaattiin ja viimeistele lopulla persiljalla.

12 Nov 2017

Travelling via Cooking: Käsekuchen - German Cheese Cake




Kitchenfoxtales likes to make food-related travelling - and of course travel via food and cooking. This time the road is leading to Germany. Grab your seats, notebooks and whisks - let's go!

German cheese cake, Käsekuchen, is actually made from quark (or rahka, as we Finns call it) and not from cream cheese as its American cousin. The structure is also lighter because of the whipped eggwhites folded into the batter.

Quark is a soured milk product containing a lot of protein (just that you know I'm not talking about that elementary particle and fundamental constituent of matter with those funny names like up, down, strange, charm, top, and bottom. Ok, no more digressing...). Quark is mostly used in northern and eastern Europe (plus Germany!). I've seen it been credited as a type of soft cheese, but I'd refer to it being closer to a very thick yogurt and the sort. If you can't find it, I'd suggest trying either fromage blanc, curd cheese, cottage cheese or even strained yoghurt and mix it with cream cheese in order to get the right consistency. According to my insider source, in Germany one would, for baking purposes, choose quark containing at least (10-)20 % fat (in dry weight). I had only low-fat quark this time, so I added in some cream cheese. If you choose a fattier quark, you could substitute that for the cream cheese.

P.S. Happy Father's Day!


(By the way, I find fat percents by dry weight so irritating. It's nearly impossible to count the fat percents by total weight if you don't also have the nutritional values. Luckily, we have a couple German cookbooks, which explained the usual water contents of quarks. It's around 80 %, so 20 % fat in dry weight would mean 4 % fat in total weight. With my kitchen math I counted: 500 g quark and 200 g cream cheese contain 49 g fat in total, so it's 7 % fat in total weight.)

The pie crust recipe is the one I'm always using. It's from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it's perfect: easy to handle, crumbly but durable once baked and so tasty.

N.B. I don't always use margarine as in the recipe (I replace it with butter), as I think the purpose of it here is to add hydrogenated fats to make the crust flakier. Nowadays margarines are trans-fat reduced and quite soft, so if I don't have margarine for baking or shortening, I use only butter.






Käsekuchen - German quark cake (or cheese cake)


Pie crust: Pâte brisée sucrée (for a 24 cm springform)
200 g all-purpose or cake flour, sieved
30 g sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
60 g butter
2 Tbsp (~25 g) margarine (for baking)/shortening/butter (read N.B. above)
1 egg
(1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional)
(+ 1 Tbsp cold water, if needed)

Quark filling
50 g butter
80-100 g sugar
3 egg yolks
500 g low-fat quark (if you can't find it, see note above)
200 g cream cheese
2 tl vanilla sugar
4 egg whites

For brushing:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp cream or milk

Prepare the crust: mix the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add cold butter+margarine cut into small cubes and mix it with the dry ingredients by pinching with fingertips until the mixture is grainy. Add the egg (and vanilla extract) and mix it quickly together. If the dough is too dry, add cold water. Place the dough in plastic wrap and let it cool in the freezer for 15-30 minutes (don't overchill it as then the dough will tear apart while rolling it).

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Roll the dough into a round (appr. 3 mm in thickness) and place it onto a prepared springform pan. Make the crust high enough because the filling will rise in the oven. Put a baking paper and your "baking beans" on top of the crust and prebake it for 5-6 minutes. Remove the beans and the paper and continue to bake for 2-3 minutes. After prebaking the crust, raise the oven temperature to 210°C.

Whip soft butter, sugar and egg yolks together. Add quark, cream cheese and vanilla sugar and stir until even. Whip the egg whites until hard and shiny. Stir a third of the egg whites into the filling carefully, to not break the foam. Add the rest of the egg whites and stir again carefully. Pour the filling on the prebaked crust. Mix egg yolk with sugar and milk/cream. Pour it as drops onto the filling and brush it carefully on it. (You won't need to use all of the egg wash.)

Bake in 210°C for 45-50 minutes. The filling will rise high during the baking and some tears might happen. They will mostly disappear after the baking. If the kuchen starts to get too much colour, lower the temperature (it really depends on your oven). When it is ready, turn off the heat and leave it in the oven, with the door slightly open for, for 15-20 minutes. If you want to prevent tears, separate the edges carefully from the springform with a thin spatula 5-10 minutes after you turned the oven off. You can serve it warm or chilled. (I prefer it chilled. It tastes more egg-y when warm.)



Käsekuchen - Saksalainen rahkakakku


Pohja (n. 24 cm vuokaan)
Pâte brisée sucrée
200 g vehnäjauhoa
30 g sokeria
1/2 tl leivinjauhetta
60 g voita
2 rkl (~25 g) leivontamargariinia tai voita
1 muna
(1/2 tl vaniljauutetta)
(+ 1 rkl kylmää vettä, jos tarpeen)

Rahkatäyte
50 g voita
80-100 g sokeria
3 keltuaista
500 g rasvatonta rahkaa
200 g tuorejuustoa
2 tl vaniljasokeria (tai 0,5 tl vaniljauutetta)
4 valkuaista

Voiteluun:
1 keltuainen
1 tl sokeria
1 rkl kermaa tai maitoa

Aloita pohjasta: Sekoita jauhot, sokeri ja leivinjauhe. Lisää jääkaappikylmä voi+margariini kuutioina ja nypi se jauhojen sekaan, kunnes seos on ryynimäistä. Lisää muna (ja vaniljauute halutessasi) ja sekoita taikina nopeasti yhteen. Jos se jää kovin murustuvaksi ja kuivaksi, lisää vähän kylmää vettä. Kääri taikina tuorekelmuun ja laita se pakastimeen noin jäähtymään noin puoleksi tunniksi (ei liian pitkään, koska taikinasta tulee silloin liian kovaa ja lohkeilevaa).

Esilämmitä uuni 190-200 asteeseen. Kauli taikina n. 3 mm paksuksi pyöreäksi levyksi ja painele se voidellun irtopohjavuo'an pohjalle ja reunoille. Tee reunoista riittävän korkeat, koska rahkatäyte kohoaa uunissa. Laita pohjan päälle leivinpaperi ja "leivontahelmet" tai kuivia herneitä ja esipaista n. 5-6 minuuttia. Poista pavut ja paperi ja jatka paistamista vielä 2-3 minuuttia. Nosta esikypsennetty pohja pois uunista ja laita uuni lämpiämään (200-)210 asteeseen.

Vatkaa pehmeä voi, sokeri ja keltuaiset vaaleaksi vaahdoksi. Sekoita rahka, tuorejuusto ja vaniljasokeri (tai uute) keskenään ja lisää keltuaisseokseen. Vaahdota valkuaiset kiiltäväksi, kovaksi vaahdoksi. Kääntele noin 1/3 vaahdosta varovasti keltuais-rahkaseokseen. Lisää loput vaahdosta edelleen varovasti käännellen ja kaada täyte sitten esipaistetulle piirakkapohjalle.

Sekoita keltuainen sokerin ja maidon/kerman kanssa. Pudota sitä tipoittain rahkatäytteen päälle ja levitä varovasti täytteen pinnalle (et tarvitse kaikkea keltuaisseosta tähän).

Paista 200-210 asteessa 45-50 minuuttia. Täyte nousee paiston aikana ja se saattaa myös repeillä pinnastaan. Kun kakku jäähtyy, repeämät kuitenkin häviävät osittain. Jos pinta uhkaa tummua liikaa, alenna hieman lämpötilaa ja laita tarvittaessa pala leivinpaperia kakun päälle.

Kun kakku on valmis, sammuta uuninlämpö ja jätä kakku vielä hetkeksi uuniin, uuninluukku raollaan, noin 15-20 minuutiksi. 5-10 minuutin kuluttua uunin sammuttamisen jälkeen irrottele kakku reunoista esim. ohuella lastalla. Kakun voi tarjota lämpimänä tai jäähtyneenä (itse tykkään siitä jäähtyneenä. Lämpimänä se maistuu aika kananmunaiselta.)

4 Nov 2017

Almond Milk


Last spring on our trip to Puglia we stayed at an agriturismo spot Masseria Pilapalucci. Though the weather was very cold (+2 C in the mornings...), the people were friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed our stay very much (thanks to our hosts and the other staff, you made our trip very special). I'll try to post more photos on our trip later.

The estate dates back to 15th century. The current owners have really worked hard to renovate the farm and start again the agriculture. The house is surrounded by vast fields of almond and olive trees and we were fortunate to obtain their superb products: olive oil and almonds. I don't think I had tasted Italian almonds before and the ones from Toritto region are supposed to be the world's best. And they were! They really tasted so much better than any I've tasted before. (The almonds in the recipe photos are not those, unfortunately.)



Of course you could buy almond milk from a store, but the self-made stuff is a completely different product in my opinion (try once checking the ingredient list and the almond content on the store-bought variety). This recipe has only two ingredients and it's you who controls the almond-water ratio.



Almond Milk


100 ml (~70 g) almonds (I prefer to buy ones with skin, in which case you'll have to peel them before using)
about 350-500 ml water, depending on how thick you want the milk to be
(0,5 tsp vanilla extract/seeds from half a vanilla pod, optional)
(sugar/maple syrup, to sweeten, optional)

Soak the almonds overnight (or up to 2 days) in plenty of water, as they will swell. (I keep them refrigerated). Once they've been soaked, drain the water and rinse the almonds. Now the skin has softened, so it's easy to peel them: just pinch them between your thumb and index finger and the almond will plop out of its skin. Discard the skin.

Add the peeled almonds and about half the amount of water to a blender and blend until the milk is creamy and smooth (it might take quite awhile, depending on your blender). Add more water, if needed (remember that the milk will get thinner after straining).

Strain the milk using a cheese cloth (or similar). Squeeze the remaining pulp, until all of the liquid is extracted. Transfer the milk to a jar and refrigerate. (If you want to sweeten or flavour the milk, add vanilla and sweetener). Use within two days. Shake before using.

What to do with the pulp: you can use it in smoothies or baking (muffins, cookies...). I usually freeze mine in small pieces, if I don't need it straight away.






26 Oct 2017

Beetroot and Green Pea Sandwich Cake



I made this sandwich cake for my Harry Potter birthday party. I'm still so thrilled about that party and want to arrange it again (luckily I kept all the props). Who's in? This time of year would be perfect for it. Send the invitations by owl post, put some lights up on the ceiling, house crests on the walls, hang some keys with wings, make Potter-ish dishes, like this Professor Sprout's Sandwich Cake (other ideas could be Herbology Crudités, Golden Snitch Truffles, Cockroach Clusters and Dragon Eggs).

I love the colours and fresh flavours of this cake, it's truly a totally different version of the usually heavily mayonnaise based sandwich cakes I grew up with. (Sandwich cakes were very popular in Finland in 1980s and 1990s). It's vegetarian and because of all the beans and peas in the filling, it's very nutricious. Feel free to sample with breads of different texture: you could even try three different ones. This time I used white toast for the upper and lower layers and Finnish sweet, malted rye bread (called "archipelago bread").

Btw, if you're into Harry Potter, you should check this out. It explains in which house you belong to according to your Meyer Briggs personality type. (I ended up being a pure Slytherin as I'm ISTJ!) First you have to make Meyer Briggs test, though, if you don't know your four-letter-combination yet.



Professor Sprout's Beetroot and Green Pea Sandwich Cake


8 slices white toast, crust cut off
4 slices dark bread (archipelago bread or whole wheat toast), crust cut off
100 ml vegetable broth

Green pea paste
100 g white beans
100 g green peas, thawed
100 g broccoli
1-2 tsp wasabi paste
3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp crème fraîche
fresh herbs: dill or basil (a handful or according to taste)
salt

Beetroot paste
100 g white beans
200 g cooked beetroot
50 g lingonberries
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp crème fraîche
salt

Topping:
100 g cream cheese
50 g creme fraiche
the zest and juice from 1 lime
salt, white pepper

edible flowers and sprouts, to decorate

Pea paste: Steam broccoli for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and pour over cold water to cool them (that way their green colour stays nice). Drain and dry properly by squeezing gently. Mix all ingredients even in a blender. Adjust the flavours according to taste.

Beetroot paste: Blend all ingredients even in a blender. Adjust the flavours according to taste.

Topping: Stir cream cheese, creme fraiche and the lime zest and juice together. Season with salt and pepper.

Assembly: Arrange four slices of white toast on a big cling film sheet. Moisten them slightly with vegetable broth. Spread beetroot paste on them. Repeat with four slices of dark bread, moisten them with vegetable broth and spread a layer of pea paste. Finish with a layer of white toast moistened with vegetable broth. Wrap the cling film tightly over the cake and leave the cake in fridge for 2-3 hours.

Arrange the cake on a serving dish and spread the topping on it. Decorate with edible flowers and sprouts.

*The amount of the fillings are quite generous, so you might not need it all to fill your cake (depends on the size of the bread slices, too).

14 Oct 2017

Ketchup Chicken - Ketsuppikana




The best foods are born out of coincidence: I was planning to do omuraisu but noticed I was out of eggs (which is kind of bad if you're planning to make an omelette :D). I had already earlier thought how delicious the chicken tomato sauce for omuraisu is, so that time I decided to eat it without the omelette, just the delicious ketchup-y chicken with rice. But if you have eggs, you can serve the dish with them (for instance onsen eggs or fried). This time instead of rice, I used spelt grains (they are so yummy!).

Somehow I find this dish very nostalgic (although I didn't eat it as a child). I'm very sure a seven-year old me would have liked it too. And Foxtail too. Oh, I miss him so much :,,,(



Ketchup Chicken (serves one)

1/2 small onion
vegetable oil
100 g chicken
3 button mushrooms
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp concentrated tomato puree
1/4 chicken bouillon cube
100 ml water
a handful of frozen peas
a dash of soy sauce
white pepper

Dice the onion finely. Cut the chicken into bitesize pieces. Slice the mushrooms. Saute onion in oil until translucent. Add the cut chicken pieces and saute until golden. Move to the edge of the pan and saute the mushrooms in the remaining space. Add the ketchup, tomato puree, crumbled bouillon cube, frozen peas and water. Stir until even. Season with white pepper and soy sauce. Let cook down, until the sauce has reduced and coats the chicken. Serve with hot rice or grains and with a boiled or fried egg if you want.

Ketsuppikana yhdelle


1/2 pieni sipuli
kasvisöljyä
100 g kanaa
3 herkkusientä
1 rkl ketsuppia
1 rkl tomaattipyreetä
1/4 kanaliemikuutio
1 dl vettä
kourallinen pakasteherneitä
soijakastiketta
valkopippuria

Kuutioi sipuli. Leikkaa kana paloiksi. Viipaloi herkkusienet. Kuullota sipuli öljyssä. Lisää kanapalat ja kypsennä ne joka puolelta. Siirrä sipuli ja kanat pannun reunalle ja lisää herkkusienet. Paista, kunnes ylimääräinen neste on haihtunut. Lisää ketsuppi, tomaattipyree, murennettu liemikuutionpala, jäiset herneet ja vesi. Sekoita tasaiseksi. Mausta soijakastikkeella ja valkopippurilla. Anna kiehua kasaan, kunnes kastike on riittävän paksua. Tarjoa riisin tai jonkin viljan kanssa ja halutessasi keitetyn tai paistetun kananmunan kanssa.

8 Oct 2017

Chanterelle Miso Spelt Porridge



It's almost like a risotto but with spelt (/speltotto). I love how the taste of miso paste enhances the flavour of mushrooms. Spelt porridge doesn't need to be stirred continuously as a risotto would, so it's easier to make. It's sort of a lunch/dinner porridge. Spelt has a lovely nutty taste and retains its chewiness even if you overcook it. If you are still not convinced about spelt, you can try the recipe with risotto rice, but then you'll need to stir it continuously. I'm planning making a post of my recipe for a similar kind of risotto, but I haven't had time to take the photos.

Mushroom Miso Spelt Porridge


serves 2 (or 3-4 as a starter)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion
170 g farro (~200 ml)
a splash of white wine or sake
~400 ml vegetable broth (low-sodium)
1-2 Tbsp white miso paste, or to taste

200 g mushroom
1 Tbsp butter, for sauteing
(salt or soy sauce if you want more saltiness without any extra flavour of miso)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the finely cubed onion. Add spelt and stir for a minute or so. Add the wine and let the alcohol bubble away. Add the stock all at once. Cover the pot with a lid and cook until the liquid is absorbed by the grains (check the cooking time from the spelt package, mine said to cook for 15 minutes). If you need to add more liquid, add hot, boiled water (or use more stock, but mine was kind of salty, so I didn't want to add it more).

Meanwhile spelt is cooking, saute the sliced mushrooms in butter until they seem firmish and the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt.

Dissolve miso to a little amount of hot water. Take the porridge off from the heat and stir in the dissolved miso. Check the salt. Top the portions with the mushroom.


Kantarelli-misospeltitto


2:lle (tai 3-4:lle alkuruokana)

1 rkl kasviöljyä
1 isohko sipuli, hienoksi kuutioituna
2 dl spelttihelmiä (n. 170 g)
loraus valkoviiniä tai sakea
~4 dl vähäsuolaista kasvislientä
1/2-1 rkl vaaleaa misoa, maun mukaan

200 g kantarelleja (tai muita sieniä)
1 rkl voita, paistamiseen
(tarvittaessa suolaa tai soijakastiketta, jos haluat suolaisuutta ilman enempää mison makua)

Lämmitä paistokasarissa öljy ja kuullota sipuli. Lisää speltti ja sekoita hetki. Lisää viini ja anna sen haihtua. Sen jälkeen lisää liemi kerralla. Peitä kannella ja anna kypsyä, kunnes speltti on kypsää ja neste imeytynyt (tarkista speltin kypsymisaika pakkauksesta, itse keitin n. 15 minuuttia). Jos speltitto uhkaa kuivua, lisää kuumaa vettä tai lientä.

Speltin kypsyessä paista sienet voissa, kunnes niistä irtoava neste on haihtunut. Mausta suolalla.

Liuota miso pieneen määrään kuumaa vettä. Ota speltti pois lämmöltä, kun se on valmis ja sekoita siihen miso. Tarkista suola. Annostele paistetut sienet speltin päälle.

24 Sep 2017

Asian-style Cabbage Rolls




Although I love autumn, I always get disappointed in it in August (yes, autumn starts here usually in August). It's rainy and cold, everything opposed to those crisp, clear autumn days. Then when September comes, I'm suddenly reminded of the REAL autumn, which starts here in September and is exactly how I remember it. This year it took quite a while to start (I was even afraid it might not come after the horribly cold summer), but now it's here.

I've tried to prepare for my specialist exam, which will take place in less than a month (so scared!!!). Luckily, As well as being my favorite season, autumn is also the best time in year to study in my opinion: still full of energy from the sunshine of the summer and somehow being a time to start something new. Plus, I get to spend time in cafés as those are my favorite spots to study: home has too many distractions (endless cleaning tasks etc.), libraries being almost too quiet (I guess I'm more used to studying in some noise).

These cabbage rolls are "Asian-style", as they are seasoned with very Asian spices: ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce. The taste reminds me of gyoza I ate tons in Japan. I haven't used napa cabbage before, but it worked very well: it tastes as good as "normal" cabbage and is a lot easier to work with.


Asian-style Cabbage Rolls

Serves 3-4.

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
a 3 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or up to a 5 cm piece, if you love the taste)
2 cloves garlic, grated
100 g mushrooms, thinly sliced
350 g ground pork or chicken
200 ml cooked grains or brown rice (cooked volume, I used spelt and the uncooked volume was scant 100 ml)
1 big carrot, shredded
1 onion, finely chopped
~10 g fresh cilantro leaves,finely chopped
(1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 head napa cabbage, cored and leaves separated (preferably around 12 leaves)

Marinade:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan, over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the ground meat, grains, carrot, onions, cilantro, (pepper flakes), soy sauce and rice vinegar. Using your hands, mix until well combined.

Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water, so that the stems soften. Place the leaves in cold water until cool enough to handle. Strain excess water. Lay a cabbage leaf on a working surface with the stem end closest to you. Put about 2 heaping Tbsp of the pork mixture near the stem end, fold the stem end over the filling, then fold both sides toward the middle, and roll up the leaf tightly around the filling. Place the roll, seam side down, in a 20x30 cm baking dish. Repeat rolling cabbage leaves until all the filling is used (save the small leaves for another use).

In a small bowl, stir together the marinade. Pour the sauce over the rolls. Bake in 225°C oven until the filling is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with steamed rice/cooked grains.

Adapted from: Williams-Sonoma.com

Aasialaiset kaalikääryleet

3-4:lle

1 rkl rypsiöljyä
a 3-5 cm pala inkivääriä, kuorittuna ja raastettuna (maun mukaan)
2 valkosipulin kynttä, raastettuna
100 g sieniä (metsäsienet tai shiitaket sopivat parhaiten), ohuesti viipaloituna
350 g broilerin tai porsaan jauhelihaa
2 dl kypsää tummaa riisiä tai jotain viljaa (esim. spelttiä tai ohraa)
1 iso porkkana, raastettuna
1 sipuli, hienonnettuna
~10 g tuoretta korianteria, hienonnettuna
(1/2 tl chilihiutaleita, valinnainen)
1 rkl soijakastiketta
1 tl riisiviinietikkaa
1 pienehkö kiinankaali

Marinadi:
2 rkl soijakastiketta
1 rkl riisiviinietikkaa
1 tl sokeria
2 tl seesamiöljyä

Lämmitä öljy paistinpannussa ja paista inkivääriä, valkosipulia ja sieniä muutama minuutti keskilämmöllä. Siirrä kulhoon jäähtymään hetkeksi ja lisää sitten jauheliha, riisi/vilja, porkkana, sipuli, korianteri, (chilihiutaleet), soijakastike ja riisiviinietikka. Vaivaa tasaiseksi.

Leikkaa kiinankaalin kannasta muutama sentti pois. Irrota isot ja keskikokoiset lehdet ja kasta ne hetkeksi kiehuvaan veteen, niin että kannat pehmenevät riittävästi käärimistä varten. Laita ne kylmään veteen jäähtymään ja valuta kuiviksi. Aseta lehti eteesi kantaosa itseesi päin. Laita reilu 2 rkl täytettä kantaosaan, käännä kanta sen päälle ja taita sivut keskelle. Rullaa kääryle itsestäsi poispäin tiukaksi rullaksi. Asettele kääryleet uunivuokaan saumapuoli alaspäin tiukaksi muodotelmaksi.

Yhdistä marinadin ainekset pienessä kulhossa ja kaada se kääryleiden päälle. Paista 225-asteisessa uunissa noin 45 minuuttia. Jos kääryleet uhkaavat ruskistua liikaa, voit käännellä niitä tai laittaa leivinpaperin päälle. Tarjoa sellaisenaan tai riisin/speltin kanssa.

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