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

21 January 2011

Help me I'm a tea freak!!!

 Oops I did it again! I bought more tea!! I was visiting the Travel Fair and of course instead of booking a holiday like most people I was exploring all the foods and drinks... so tea it is. I bought six Forsman loose tea bags.
I now have 23 different types of tea at home. Insane. I do drink a lot of tea though, like six cups or more on a heavy tea drinking day. If that justifies this... I should host a tea party or something. Anyway, I thought it might be an interesting idea for a post to look what I've got. Here we go!
Women's fitness, Sweet chili, Rose and Bedtime
 I love Yogi teas, they are full of flavour and they are organic on top of that! My new favourite is the women's fitness with rosemary, nettle, rosehip and lavender. Lavender is one of my favourite scents and this tea smells heavenly! Sweet chili is Andy's favourite.
T2 French Earl grey and Turkish apple
 These boxes make me miss Australia! One of my favourite shops down under was T2, better than any candy shop. So many flavours and smells, it was AWESOME! I wish they would come to Finland too. Or I need to get someone to ship me some of the good stuff. Cause obviously I can never have enough tea.

CLIPPER; Indian chai, Green chai, Peppermint, Nettle and Detox
I'm a heavy user of Clipper's detox and peppermint teas. Detox is so tasty with flavours like raspberry and liqourice root and peppermint is just perfect after a meal. I like chai, but these are maybe not the best. When we were in India I drank lots of Chai, strong, cinnamonny, supersupersweet and goooood. It will never be the same here.
Finnish Forsman; Green jasmine, White pearl,  Liqourice, Rooibos with blood orange, India yoga chai, Russian blend(aka golden apple) and Green earl Grey
 So this is what I bought today. Amazing loose tea, we have Forsman tea at my workplace and it's very good quality. I've only tasted the jasmine and the Russian blend, which are both suberb, but I look forward to the others. Especially the blood orange rooibos! Sounds a bit different. I love liqourice so I hope I can substitute the candy with the tea.
Proper Brittish tea like.
This is Andy's stuff. I rarely drink black tea but when we lived in England it was a habit more than anything. I learned from Andy's family to make drinks to others, it's such a sweet gesture. Here it's more the "help yourself" way but in England everybody knows just how to make their loved one's cuppas. But since we've been here in Finland that habit has been forgotten. Maybe I'll make Andy a nice cuppa tea in his favourite (read OLDEST) mug when he gets home from work.
The mixed bag; Rooibos with almond and cream, Indiska chai, White tea with orange spice and Thehuone Green tea sencha sakura
 The chai and the green tea are gifts from friends, I mentioned my love for chai before (R, you know me!) and this green tea is amazing. Some green teas can have a really bitter flavour but this one is smooth and pleasant. It's flavoured with rosehip and cherry aroma. I have to visit the shop Thehuone myself one day...
The other two are new as well, but I already love the White tea with orange spice. I think white tea is going to be my next big favourite.
Cheeky tea tin and elephant tea pot
I love tea pots and would like to collect more. This one is so beautiful, from Indiska. We collect elephant related things that we find beautiful. I think it started from our trip in India and Thailand where we saw elephants for the first time, they are somehow so wise and gentle animals, yet powerful. i'm not superstitious but I like the Indian god Ganesha and how it's meant to bring good luck if you have a statue or an image of Ganesha. So in a way by collecting elephants I am trying to ensure that I will have good luck. I think it's worked pretty well so far... The story went a bit of topic there but nevermind, elephants are cool!  

Are there any other tea hoarders out there? Any recommendations?

18 January 2011

My SuperGreen Smoothie

 As I was sitting at the hairdresser today, I got through quite a few women's magazines. I saw an article about smoothies in one of them and there was an idea about combining avocado, kiwi and yoghurt. Here's my version of that!
My SuperGreen Smoothie
Makes around 2 large glasses
1 Avocado
2 Kiwis
1 Lime
1 dl Apple juice
1 dl Organic Turkish yoghurt
Sesame seeds

Blitz in a blender until smooth. I do mine with a stick blender, to make a nice froth bring the blender to the surface so air mixes in the drink. Does that make any sense? I got the idea from how the froth in cappucino is made, and that's how they get that fluffy texture to soups in professional kitchens. Just a little tip from me to you! This was an ideal afternoon snack so I had energy to go for a long walk after my day at uni (and the hairdresser). And it makes you feel super healthy and hippie!


16 January 2011

Sushi Sunday

Our ingredients
 Sushi Sunday - I could make this a habit. Lazyish day with long walks with the dog, Toy Story 3 on DVD and making sushi. Or Andy making and me taking pictures. Sundays are more or less the only days he has time to cook at home, so I let him. We hadn't made sushi together before so it was about time
Speedy sushi making

  I got the ingredients yesterday from Hakaniemi, we made two different fillings; raw salmon & avocado and tuna with cucumber. We also made a salad from fresh spinach, raw salmon and avocado with a dressing from sesame oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, garlic and honey, as well as sesame seeds.

 We had miso soup as a starter, super easy, just boil the kettle and add hot water to a sachet of stuff that looks like mud! Would've been nice to add tofu but since we didn't have any I made it extra seaweedy with this sea salad stuff. It's a mixture of dried seafoods and you can use it in salads or soups. I got it from the organic food shop Ekolo in Hakaniemi.
Miso soup Moomin mugs

 With the meal we had a piccolo bottle of Pommery POP rose Champagne. The bubbles complimented the fattiness of the salmon, avocado and Japanese mayonaisse, it was a good match. Shame it was just a piccolo...

After a Sunday like this it almost doesn't feel too bad to get back to studies tomorrow, it's just that waking up at 6:30 was never my favourite thing. Let's hope that I'll still find time to cook and blog after the everyday life begins again. Bye bye holidays! 

Salmon, avocado and spinach salad with sesame dressing
Maki rolls
California roll style

15 January 2011

Saturday Market Brunch

Woke up to bright frosty (-15c) sunrise and took the bus to Hakaniemi for some food shopping. Asian food shop for bok choy (still not available at supermarkets in Finland!), sushi rice, japanese mayo, wasabi and seaweed - tomorrow is sushi Sunday!

Then to Hakaniemi food hall for some Moriz bread from Tuffe's bakery, herb marinated olives, avocado, cherry tomatoes on the vine and zucchini and some salmon for tomorrow's sushi from Töölön kala. Also treated myself to some tulips from the florist. The sunlight is starting to win and the idea of spring starts to feel like a possibility. I love mornings like this!

Simple and tasty!

With the good ingredients, only little cooking is needed and so when I came back I had a tasty lunch of tortilla Espanola from before, Moriz bread, avocado, tomatoes (best I've had for a while!) with a little finger salt & white wine vinegar and olives. YUM-MY! Happy Saturday to everybody!

14 January 2011

My Version of the Tortilla Espanola

Muy delicioso!

 Another new thing I tried in the year 2011! Go me! Andy has made tortilla espanola many many times, and his version is super tasty but it's a very easy dish so it was about time I made it myself.  I used a whole bag of potatoes so it made a rather large batch, hopefully it will taste good after freezing. (Need to work on my portions!!) The traditional version is just potatoes, onions and eggs but I added harissa paste, red pepper and fresh spinach for some flavour.

Good on it's own, makes a meal when served with a salad, or can be served as a side dish.
Tortilla Espanola a la Sari

Bag of potatoes, sliced thinly, season with salt
2 Onions
Red pepper
Spinach, handful
Harissa paste
6 eggs (free range)
Salt & pepper

Cook the potatoes on a pan with olive oil until they're cooked.  (Confession... I could have cooked mine for just a bit longer... al dente potatoes are not so nice!) 
Add the onion and pepper once potatoes are ready. Add the spinach at the end, cook further for a minute until it's just wilted.
Crack the eggs in a separate jug, add seasoning and the harissa paste.
Use an oven proof pan or tray, and mix the potatoes with the eggs. Cook in 200 C until the egg is set and the top is a nice golden colour.

Silvoplee - possibly the best vegetarian restaurant in Helsinki

I have heard about this restaurant many many times, but somehow I just hadn't visited even though I've been living in Helsinki for two years now! This week I've already been there twice and I can feel that I'm going to be a regular.

So what is this place I'm talking about? It's a vegetarian place called Silvoplee, located in Hakaniemi on Toinen linja 3, just opposite the food market. They're open for lunches and they serve a buffet with an overwhelming choice of hot foods, soup and salads. The food is priced at just under 20 e per kilo so it's not super cheap but the ingredients are good quality and the variety is excellent. They also offer some delicious looking desserts, freshly made juices and the house tea was tasty.

Menu of the week

Some of the foods (not the best picture)

Buffet 19,58/kg, Soup 13,89/kg

There is a nice, warm atmosphere

The front door. Check the website for more info!

It's not always easy or cheap to buy a lot of different kinds of fresh vegetables. So when you don't feel like chopping and cooking for yourself, this is the perfect place for lunch! I recommend this place also for the meat lovers, who are a bit suspicious about vegetarian food, as the dishes are tasty and do really fill you up! I'm not trying to convert anyone to become vegetarian, but there are so many good reasons to reduce eating meat.

At the moment I'm in the process of reading the book Eating animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, and it's eye opening even for me, and I have been thinking about these issues for a while, been a vegetarian since 1998. I will probably do a book review once I'm finished with it but I can already recommend it to all.

12 January 2011

Happy Tasty New Year 2011!

I'm back again! New year, new inspiration, new attempt at posting. I believe that most New Year's resolutions are made to be broken, forgotten or eventually ignored. Yet, I'm willing to risk it. Here's my 10 food related resolutions:

  1. In the year 2011, I will cook more often. (Not only frozen chips, pizzas or boring salads)
  2. In the year 2011, I will post on my blog what I have cooked. Not only take lots of pictures of food that I will never use.
  3. In the year 2011, I will comment more on other food blogs that I follow.
  4. In the year 2011, I will use recipes from the various cookbooks and food magazines (and food blogs that I follow) that fill our house. (They are more than food porn.)
  5. In the year 2011, I will cook more tasty vegetarian foods and use my imagination, making things from scratch.
  6. In the year 2011, I will eat less and drink more tea. No explanation needed here. :)
  7. In the year 2011, I will explore the French cuisine. In April, I get to visit Nice through my studies and the trip involves food and wine and all related. Can't wait!!
  8. In the year 2011, I will go to more small, independent restaurants, that I have never been to.
  9. In the year 2011, I will shop at the food markets and ethnic shops more often.
  10. In the year 2011, I will try more new things.
  11. In the year 2011, I will waste less food and recycle more.
  12. In the year 2011, I will either wash up more often or finally buy a dishwasher.
EDIT; I kept coming up with more resolutions. Hence numbers 11 and 12. :)

That's a lot of resolutions for someone who didn't make any... Well, at least I should be able to keep one or more of them, even by accident.
Here's the first recipe of the year.

Soy, carrot, red pepper and bean sprout stir fry

Soy strips, cooked in veg stock and marinated with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seeds
Sesame oil
Red chili
Carrots, thinly chopped like noodles
Red pepper, thinly chopped
Bean sprouts

I recommend investing in sesame oil for stir fries and salad dressings as the nutty flavour it gives is sensational! First heat the wok pan and the add the oil. Once oil is hot add the red chill and ginger and stir for 30 seconds, then add the onion. Add garlic after a minute (this prevents the garlic from burning), then the soy, carrot and pepper. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, add bean sprouts and coriander and stir for a minute.

I don't know if recipes are really needed for stir fries as you can really just throw in whatever you happen to have. The key is to use chilli, garlic and ginger and it will always taste good! I season mine with soy sauce in the end.