If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-J.R.R Tolkien

22 September 2013

Smoky Spicy Butternut Squash, Millet with Cucumber and Mint, Butterbean and Cashew Dip & Guacamole

Hello everybody, I think it's time to start cookin' this blog again!
It's been a year since my previous post. During the past year I've started a new job and finished my studies after a pretty time consuming thesis project, so I've been quite busy. I just had no energy to think about what I ate and I didn't have any motivation to write the blog.

I have been learning a new way to think about food after the summer holidays. My weight was at an all time high and I felt a huge need for change. I haven't done anything too drastic but I have managed to figure out how to eat in a more balanced way and I have already lost over five kilos in less than two months! I still have some work to do to be able to feel as healthy as I'd like to, but I'm pretty confident I'm on the right track.

Let's think of this as a new beginning for the blog, too. I'll be posting more healthy recipes with a focus on vegetarian dishes, with protein and good carbs. Of course there will be some treats every now and then too. Balance is the woooooord!

Today I spent a bit of time in the kitchen cooking up a spicy and fresh veggie Sunday lunch, using ingredients I had in my cupboards and not really following any recipes.

Smoky Spicy Butternut Squash, Millet with Cucumber and Mint, Butterbean and Cashew Dip & Guacamole

Here come the recipes in the order I cooked them...

Butterbean & Cashew Dip
I bought some dried butterbeans at Punnitse & Säästä shop on a whim and as I had never used them before I didn't really know what to do with them... After looking for a recipe for a long time I just made this one up from my head, and I didn't really measure anything. You could use tinned butterbeans also. I made a pretty huge batch, so guess this will be my snack for the week!

Dried butterbeans , 4 dl or so
Cashew nut, 2 dl
Olive oil (I was out so used rapeseed oil)
Juice of one lemon
Honey, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
Salt & Pepper

1. Soak the butterbeans in cold water overnight.
2. Cook the beans in boiling water for about an hour until they become soft. My beans took about 1,5 hours.
3. Rinse under cold water and peel off the skins of the beans if you like.
4. Add the cashew nuts and some oil to the beans and blitz with a stick blender. Add lemon juice and more oil until the mix is smooth. Season with honey, nutmeg, salt and pepper. 

Millet with Cucumber and Mint
Millet is an another ingredient I had not really used before. I had bought a packet months ago and decided to give it a go today. I cooked it for 25 mins according to packet instructions and the consistency was quite porridge-like. Not my favourite grain, I prefer quinoa or bulgur and they would also be a good option for this recipe instead of the millet.

2 dl millet (or quinoa/bulgur), cooked according to packet instructions
1/2 cucumber, diced small
Handfull of fresh mint, chopped
Handfull of parsley, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame seed oil
Juice of one lime
1 dl Feta cheese
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
Salt & Pepper, to taste

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Enjoy!

 I love guacamole, no need to say more! 

2 ripe avocados
Juice of one lime
1/2 fresh red chili, chopped fine
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Salt & pepper

1. Spoon the flesh of the avocados in a mortar and add the other ingredients.
2. Smash until you have the desires consistency.

Smoky Spicy Butternut Squash
It ain't autumn without butternut squash!

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 tbsp oil
Knob of butter
2 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 fresh red chili, chopped small
2 shallot onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
Turkish yoghurt
Coriander & lime

1. Heat up the oil and the butter in a large frying pan at a medium to high heat.
2. Add the shallots, chili, paprika powder and turmeric and fry for around one minute. Don't burn it!
3. Add the garlic, soon followed by the squash. Fry until the squash is soft and cooked, about 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the cubes.
4. Serve with dollops of turkish yoghurt, coriander and lime wedges.

Hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did!

20 August 2012

Ravintolapäivä - Restaurant day

Ruttopuisto turned restaurant park!
So, this was the fifth Restaurant Day and finally we made it to a couple of the food stalls that were set up! If you are not familiar with the consept you should really check the official Restaurant day website. It all started last year in Helsinki and it's great to see so many people getting excited about it and hundreds of pop-up restaurants being created. Maybe next time we will come up with one of our own too...
It was unfortunate that it did rain a bit yesterday and also we were a little tired so we ended up walking to our local shopping mall where there was a small stall selling spring rolls and pork buns. Nothing for me but I was told that the spring roll was tasty. Next we set off to the centre and aimed to visit a blini stall in Ruttopuisto. Upon arrival we glanced at the queue and were determined that it wasn't worth waiting for half an hour. Luckily the park was filled with many other options and we chose to go for Mediterranean homefood and got a meze plate for 9 euros. Everything tasted good but it was maybe a bit overpriced and there could have been more (and better quality) bread. On the other hand the 2 euro chocolate bisquit pudding was heavenly and well priced. Our timing was also very good as the queue got alot longer after us.
The pictures this time were taken with my new mobile, and I'm rather happy with the quality... Nice not having to carry my SLR everywhere with me.
Chocolate bisquit pudding

Queue queue queue

I wish I had had more energy to visit more restaurant, but to be honest I think that this is more fun for the restarauteurs than the customers. Watch this space before the next restaurant day, I'll keep you informed if we are doing something! (I have oh so many great ideas at least!)

13 August 2012

High, higher, dinner in the sky!

  What an experience! Today we had lunch in 45 metres in the air by Dinner in the sky. As a person who is slightly scared of heights it felt like I was facing my fears. I'd never do a bungee jump or sky dive, no, I need food to lure me to the skies. It worked!
 Dinner in the sky is in Helsinki at Rautatientori for this week only, so go if you can (and are not too scared!) It was definately worth it.
 The table is being set.

 "My only regret in life is that I didn't drink enough Champagne"
John Maynard Keynes

 One of the chef's greeted us once we got up.

 Beef tartar
 Salmon tartar for me
 Cheers! At this point I was still very uncomfortable and couldn't really look down or turn on my chair. After a few sips of Champagne it got a lot more relaxing though.

 Main course of slow cooked monkfish, chanterelles and artichoke purée.

 Dessert of Oolong tea mousse, tomatoes and berries. Not our favourite, but certainly something different.

It was fun, but I was rather happy to get back to street level!

12 August 2012

Luumua ja mantelia - Plum and almond

 Eilen töiden jälkeen nappasin pussillisen luumuja kaupasta sen kummemmin miettimättä mitä niillä tekisin, mutta tänään tuli himo tehdä luumu-mantelipiirakkaa johon Englannissa asuessani rakastuin. Yleensä kun yhdistää kaksi rakastamaansa ruoka-ainesta on lopputuloskin tuplasti rakastettava, tässä tapauksessa ehkä vielä enemmän.Tätä tulen ihan varmasti tekemään uudelleen ja uudelleen ja uudelleen...  Ohjetta jouduin hetken etsiskelemään ja lopulta päädyin helpoimpaan ja kauneimpaan reseptiin joka löytyi blogista jota voin muutoinkin suuresti suositella, ihana Cannelle et Vanille. Noin hienoihin ruokakuviin haluan minäkin pyrkiä!

After work yesterday I grabbed a bag of plums from the shop without thinking, but today I had a epiphany - I needed to make a plum and almond tart! I fell in love with this dessert in England. This recipe combines two ingredients that I love so I double-love the recipe, if not a little more even. I'm sure I will make this again and again and again... After some searching I ended up with the easiest and prettiest recipe that I could find, at the wonderful blog Cannelle et Vanille. I recommend this blog to anyone, the photography is something to aspire to!

 Ohjeesta saa yhden suuren piirakan tai kaksi pienempää, kuten minä tein. (Luumut ei siis ole jättiläislajiketta!)

150 gr kananmunan valkuaista
155 gr sokeria
70 gr vehnäjauhoja
65 gr mantelijauhoja
190 gr suolaamatonta voita, sulatettuna ja viilennettynä
Pussillinen luumuja

1. Vatkaa valkuaiset ja sokeri kevyeksi vaahdoksi.
2. Lisää vehnäjauho ja mantelijauho, sekoita.
3. Lisää sulatettu voi varovasti kunnes taikina on tasaista.
(4. Alkuperäisessä ohjeessa kehoitettiin pitämään taikina yön yli jääkaapissa, minä kärsimättömänä laitoin piirakan uuniin noin tunnin jäähdyttelyn jälkeen ja hyvää tuli!)
5. Levitä taikina voideltuun piirakkavuokaan, täytä noin puoliväliin. Asettele puolikkaat luumut taikinan pinnalle leikkauspinta ylöspäin, upota
6. Paista 175 asteessa noin puoli tuntia kunnes taikinan pinta on kullanruskea ja reunat mukavan rapeat. Tarjoile vaniljajäätelön tai -kastikkeen kanssa

Plum and Almond Tart
This recipe will make one large or two small tarts (I made small ones, those are not giant plums!)

150 gr egg whites
155 gr sugar
70 gr flour
65 gr almond flour

190 gr unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Whisk together the egg whites and the sugar into a light foam. 

2. Add the flour and almond flour, mix. 
3. Slowly add the melted and cooled butter until the batter is smooth. 
(4. According to the original recipe you should leave the batter in the fridge overnight. I'm a rebel (And impatient) so I didn't and think my tart was still fantastic. Up to you what you decide to do!)
5. Spread the batter onto a buttered tart pan. Fill the pan about half way up. Top with the halved plums.
6. Bake in 175 degrees celsius in the oven  for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and nice and crisp on the sides. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard.

09 August 2012

Portobello meets Chickpea

 Ajattelin että voisin alkaa välillä kirjoittelemaan myös suomeksi tänne blogiin, ihan kokeilumielessä. Pääkielenä pysyy toistaiseksi kuitenkin englanti.

Suuresti ihailemani Kulinaarimuruja-blogi voitti kuukauden ruokahaasteen ja valitsi elokuun haasteruoka-aineeksi sienet, suureksi ilokseni! Sienet on huippuja! Tänään löysin itseni pähkäilemästä ruokakaupasta että mitäs tänään, ja mieleeni muistui haaste. Kanttarellit kutsuivat kyllä mutta nyt kaipasin jotain tosi simppeliä ja pääsyin portobellosieniin. Kasvisyöjillehän ravintoloissa näitä usein tyrkytetään mutta luulempa että onnistuin nyt kehittämään uuden makuyhdistelmän savuisista kikherneistä ja portobellosta, ja no juustoa pitää aina olla. Jotenkin tämä sopii tähän syksyiseen tunnelmaan joka alkaa pikkuhiljaa hiipimään sieluun. Eikä kokkailussa menny koko iltaa! Tällä siis osallistun haasteeseen, saa käydä äänestään sit loppukuusta.

So, I decided to give it a go to blog in Finnish for a change, just to see how it goes. English will still remain the main language for now. Today's recipe of portobello mushrooms filled with smoky chickpeas is taking part to the monthly food challenge of August with a mushroom theme, hosted by Kulinaarimuruja, you may go and vote for me at the end of the month!

 Kikherneillä täytetyt portobellosienet

1 suuren portobellosienen per syöjä

2 rkl oliiviöljyä
Pari valkosipulinkynttä, hienonnettuna
Purkin kikherneitä (voit toki liotellakkin jos tykkäät)
2 tl Savupaprikaa
0,5 dl tomaattimurskaa
loraus tulista chilikastiketta
Tuoretta basilikaa
Suolaa & pippuria

1 dl hyvää cheddaria tai muuta kelpoa juustoa raastettuna
(ja joo no ehkä enempi ku desi, oman maun mukaan)

Salaattia, esim rucola ja kirsikkatomaatti toimii!

1. Kuullota pannulla valkosipuli oliiviöljyssä. Lisää kikherneet ja savupaprika sekä tomaattimurska ja chilikastike, hauduta keskilämmöllä muutama minuutti. Mausta lopuksi suolalla ja pippurilla ja lisää basilika.

2. Puhdista sienet ja leikkaa kannat pois. Lorauta uunivuoan pohjalle oliiviöljyä ja suolaa sienten alle. Lusikoi kikherne sienten päälle ja lisää juustoraaste.

3. Paista uunissa 225 asteessa n.15 minuuttia. Tarjoa salaattipedillä.

 Portobello mushrooms filled with smoky chickpeas

You'll need:
A large portobello mushroom per person

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A can of chickpeas (Or soak and cook if you wish)
2 tsp smoked paprika powder
0,5 dl chopped tomato
Splash of hot chili sauce
Fresh basil
Salt & pepper

1 dl of grated cheddar or other yummy cheese
Salad to serve with, cherry tomatoes and rucola was good for me

1. Warm the olive oil in a saucepan. Sautee the garlic on medium heat, add the chickpeas, paprika powder, chopped tomato and chili sauce and cook for a few minutes. Season and add the basil.

2. Clean the mushrooms and chop the stalks off. Place on an oven dish with some olive oil and seasalt. Spoon the chickpeas on top and at the cheese.

3. Bake in 225 C for about 15 minutes, serve on a bed of salad.

08 August 2012

Guess what I'll be posting about next week....

Pic from Dinner in the Sky
 Dinner in the Sky is in Helsinki next week and I just booked us seats! This might mean that I have decided to face one of my fears as I am slightly scared of hights. In amusement parks I find the Ferris Wheel to be the most thrilling ride, my heart races when it stops when you're at the top. So we shall see what kind of a panic attack I'll be having dining in 40 metres!

I am very excited to see what kind of food the guys from Frantzén/Lindeberg from Stockholm will be serving us. What a great opportunity to sample their dishes in Helsinki, in the air! The restaurant was listed number 20 on the list of the best restaurants in the world this year. I have high hopes! (See what I did there... high hopes...)

Is anyone else going or have you been in the other cities? I think there is still seats available for those interested, check the Dinner in the sky website.

Pic from Dinner in the sky

Yummy Vietnamese Style Rice Paper Rolls

 We love these Vietnamese style rice paper rolls, and we've been making them for about a year for parties and whenever we fancied them. Quite often that is! I've started to prefer these to sushi, maybe because I've eaten too much sushi, but these are also fresher with more vegetables and herbs, and the sauce is amazing! We use the same recipe for an Asian salad dressing which we make ALL the time. I've been wanting to blog the recipe since the first time we made them but never managed to get decent enough pics until now. I guess it's more like a rolling tutorial than a recipe but here it comes. Hope you like!

 Vietnamese style rice paper rolls

Rice paper sheets (from Asian Supermarkets, in Helsinki there's many in Hakaniemi)

Fillings of your own choice, for example
Chinese cabbage, rice noodles, bean sprouts - these are needed to bulk the rolls
Crunchy veggies chopped into stripes ; peppers, carrots, sugarsnap peas, cucumber, courgette
Prawns, tofu, mushrooms or other form of protein, marinated to your liking.
Avocado, cause it's tasty!
Coriander and mint leaves

Cold water on a plate

1. Place a rice paper sheet in the water for about 30 seconds or until it has softened.

2. Place the soft sheet on a plate and fill. Start with the herbs so that they will be visible and your rolls will look prettier! Don't overfill as then the rolls won't stay together.

3. Wrap the roll. Fold the bottom up first, then the sides and roll. Try to make them as tight as possible, so that they are easier to dip and eat without making a huge mess. (We always make a mess anyway) I also make lots of different filling combinations so you never know what you gonna get!

4. Repeat until your pile of rolls is big enough. We always, always make too many. Eyes bigger than bellies etc. You can make a salad out of the excess veggies and dipping sauce, just mix them up and it will be good!

(Picture instructions below)

Dipping sauce

Soy sauce 0,5 dl
(Sweet soy sauce, 1 tablespoon, optional)
(Yuzy vinegar, 1 tablespoon, optional)
Rice wine vinegar 0,2 dl
Honey 2 teaspoons
Fish sauce 1 teaspoon
Juice of two limes
Chili, 1, chopped finely
Ginger, 3 tablespoons, finely grated
Garlic, 2 cloves, finely grated
Scallion, 1, finely chopped
(Some sesame oil and sesame seeds, optional)

Mix all ingredients together.
We never actually measure the ingredients, but taste and add stuff if needed,
so the measures here are estimates only.


Assembly line

Herbs first



Wine recommendation Cono Sur Vision Single Vineyard Riesling

YUM YUM YUM Enjoy!!!