31 Dec 2015

Eggs with Salmon Roe

To congratulate the coming year I feel a proper cocktail party is needed. Today was my last day at my former work place, so I didn't have enough energy nor time to plan a party so it will be just a home party instead ;) These eggs are an easy and festive dish to serve and make. You can serve them with other cocktail party appetizers or with e.g. asparagus and hollandaise or remoulade sauce.

Eggs with Salmon Roe aka Fish Egg Eggs

makes 6 pieces

3 hard-boiled eggs
about 30 g salmon roe
100 g sour cream (smetana)
chive or dill

Halve the eggs and cut a small piece away from the "bottom" to make it even. Whip the sour cream for 30-60 seconds to make it more firm (you probably won't be needing all the sour cream, but it is difficult to whip smaller quantities. 100 g should be enough for at least 10 egg halves or even more). Using a small star piping tip pipe it around the edges. Spoon some salmon roe in the middle and decorate with chive or dill.

Happy New Year 2016!!!

29 Dec 2015

떡볶이 - Tteokbokki

After all the traditional Christmas foods I always start to crave for Asian foods with their clear tastes and crunchy textures (well, this dish I'm posting now doesn't have a crunchy texture though :D).

I encountered this yummy Korean dish first time in Japan at a school festival (in Japan they call it topokki). Luckily I've been able to find Korean rice cakes at local oriental grocery stores here in Helsinki, too. This dish is very easy and quick to make. This version is without meat, but you could add either some fish cakes (for example surimi sticks) or sausages, too.

The main ingredient, tubular rice cakes, are resembling Japanese mochi. One could call them also a VERY thick rice pasta. They are chewy and soft and I love the spicy sauce as long as it's not too hot (in a chili kind of way).

떡볶이 - Tteokbokki (Korean rice cakes in a spicy tomato sauce, yummy :P)

serves 2

300 g Korean tubular rice cakes
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp sugar
1/2-1 tsp gochujang (Korean red chili paste), according to taste (beware, it's very spicy)
~300 ml water
green or Welsh onion, for garnish

Heat up the oil in a small pot. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add tomato paste and mix well. Cook for a minute or two (I find it takes away the acidity of tomato quite quickly this way). Add water, ketchup, sugar and chili paste. Let cook for at least 5-10 minutes.

Run some cold water through the rice cakes and add them to the bubbling tomato sauce. Let simmer under a lid for 5 minutes, remove the lid and cook until the liquid transforms into a sauce. Garnish with green or Welsh onion and enjoy (unfortunately I didin't have those at hand when I took the photos...)

떡볶이 - Tteokbokki (Korealaisia riisikakkuja/pötköjä tulisessa tomaattikastikkeessa)


300 g korealaisia putkenmuotoisia riisikakkuja
1/2 sipuli, kuutioituna
1 valkosipulinkynsi, raastettuna
1 tl rypsiöljyä
2 rkl tomaattipyreetä
1 rkl ketsuppia
1 tl sokeria
1/2-1 tl gochujang (korealaista chilitahnaa), tai maun mukaan
~3 dl vettä 
ruoho- tai purjosipulia, koristeeksi

Lämmitä öljy pienessä kattilassa ja freesaa sipulit. Lisää tomaattipuree ja sekoita. Anna lämmetä hetki, jotta tomaatin happamuus taittuisi. Lisää ketsuppi, vesi, sokeri ja chilitahna. Keitä miedolla lämmöllä kannen alla ainakin 5-10 minuuttia.

Huuhtele riisikakut kylmän veden alla ja lisää kuplivankuumaan kastikkeeseen. Kypsennä kannen alla 5 minuuttia, poista kansi ja keitä, kunnes kastike on sopivan paksua. Koristele ruoho- tai purjosipulilla (miyä minulla ei ollut kuvaushetkellä :D

20 Dec 2015

Joululimppu - Spicy Finnish Christmas bread

Christmas bread here in Finland is spiced and sweet bread, usually having more or less rye flour in the dough. The sweetness comes from malt syrup or malted rye flour. I'm very precise about my Christmas bread. It has to be soft, but dense, slightly sweet and moist in my opinion. I find the right kind of bread rarely in the shops or bakeries: they are either too crumbly and dry or if dense enough then they are not moist nor soft. I found this recipe last year and forgot to write it down and actually forgot where I got it. I had a hunch it was from Heléne Johansson's (who's an amazing Swedish baker) book Bröd från Brunkebergs Bageri. When I tasted the baked product I just knew it was the one I had made earlier. Perfect! I love it with Christmas ham and mustard, though it's excellent with just butter, too.

The bestest Christmas bread I've found is from Ravioli (maybe I should try to figure out its recipe, too) but as one can buy it only once per year, so... I've tasted some other Christmas breads too, and while I haven't made a proper test, I'll try to write down some of my thoughts on them here, so I don't make the same mistake next year ;)

Quite OK ones:
-Vaasan Leipomo's both Christmas breads (Tumma & Vaalea joululimppu) are soft, not crumbly, and quite dense
-Fazer's Christmas bread with rice crocant

I haven't tasted Stockmann's Juhlaleipä in a while, so my recollection might be wrong, but I remember it being quite ok, sweet and dense, but maybe lacking some softness. The spices might also be a bit different although the level of spiciness is ok.

Kannisto's was too crumbly and not enough dense. And it didn't taste at fennel or aniseed at all, but had a taste of cardamom???

Primula's was also too crumbly and "höttöinen" (fluffy in a dry kind of manner...).

I can't remember which one of the Tampere bakeries made better Christmas breads, Linkosuo or Leivo...

Year 2016 edit: Leivo's lighter Christmas bread (Vaalea joululimppu) is very good! 041216

Joululimppu - Christmas Bread

adapted from Heléne Johansson: Bröd från Brunkebergs Bageri

Stage 1:
165 g boiling water
60 g finely ground rye flour
20-25 g malted rye (depending how strong malt flavour you're after)
5 g fennel seeds

Stage 2:
50 g water
1/4 packet fresh yeast (=12,5 g)
~220 g high-protein wheat flour
40 g dark syrup
1-2 g aniseed (optional)
13 g butter, soft
3-4 g seasalt

beaten egg for brushing

Stage 1: Pour boiling water on top of rye flour, malted rye and fennel seeds. Stir and leave to cool. Once it's at room-temperature, you can continue (or leave the predough in fridge for 3-4 days, covered by a cling-film).

Mix predough with the ingredients from Stage 2 list except butter and salt. Knead it properly, about 10 min with a mixer, or at least twice the time if you're kneading by hands). Add the butter and salt. Continue kneading for 5 minutes. Leave the dough to rest for 30 min.

Form into a round bread and leave to rise on a baking tray under an oiled cling-film or a kitchen cloth for 2 hours. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 35 min in 180 C or until the bread's inner temperature reaches 98 C. Let cool. Enjoy with butter, gravlax or Christmas ham and mustard.

16 Dec 2015

Sahramiglögi - Saffron Mulled Wine

My Advent Sunday post is a bit late but anyway... (it was already third Advent! I can't believe how fast Christmas is approaching!) In addition to being the third Advent Sunday, it was also Saint Lucia's Day. She is celebrated at least in the Swedish speaking parts of Finland. [Could it be that my dislike to saffron comes from the fact that I'm brunette?? lol    As one might have some bitter feelings towards Lucia's Day as traditionally a blonde girl is chosen to wear the candle crown to represent Lucia and to lead the procession].

The traditional food on Saint Lucia's Day are Lucia-pullat (or Lussebullar in Swedish), meaning Lucia Buns. Basically they are sweet buns with saffron (the dough will get a bright yellow colour from saffron). As much as I love food traditions specific to certain dates, I'm actually not sure if I like the taste of saffron there... but it suites well in other dishes... like in mulled wine :)

Btw, (in addition to other pros) blogging can be quite informative as I just figured why Lucia Buns are called LUSSEbullar or LUSSEkatter in Swedish. I've always found it "Lusse" a weird term to refer to SAINT Lucia. The day has actually paganic roots: Lussi, a female demon/witch/what-so-ever, riding the dark night... The celebration is to give protection to people against her and other evil spirits on the shortest day of the year (but I won't be getting into that [one word: Julian]). But now to the point...

Saffron Mulled Wine 

4-6 portions

1 bottle of white wine

The spice syrup
200 ml apple juice
the zest of 1 small orange (not the white part)
1 star anise
 a small piece of vanilla pod
1 pod of cardamom
a pinch of saffron

Start by making the syrup: Bring everything (except the wine) to a boil and take the heat off. Let them simmer for at least 30 minutes. Sieve the spices away and store in cool, if you don't use it at once. When you want to enjoy the mulled wine, warm up the spice syrup first, then add the white wine and warm until hot (do not boil!).

6 Dec 2015

Happy Independence Day, Finland!

It's Finland's Independence Day. To congratulate my home country I created yet another "Suomi" Cake. I got the idea ages ago from the Youtube channel Nerdy Nummies (it has a Super Mario tune!!! And you should definitely check the channel).

I divided the cake batter in equal portions, added some finely ground black sesame seeds to the other half and baked two cakes. Then after cutting the parts (I have made a tutorial how to cut the parts, but can't find it anywhere... typical...) I soaked the black sesame seed cake with lemonade I had dyed with blue food colouring. The frosting is made from a basic cream cheese frosting. Finally I decorated the cake with coconut flakes, star sprinkles and a flag ribbon.

Gosh, you can see from the pictures how dark it is (they were taken at quite an early coffee time, around three o'clock and I still had to use my bestest (=not so great) skills to make them look even slightly presentable...

Happy Independence  Day, Finland!!!

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