As mentioned, I recently made some crema catalana spiced with licorice. It tasted yummy and a little bit like gingerbread cookie dough. This recipe will leave you with 4 egg whites which you can use to make some meringue if you like. I found this recipe in the Finnish magazine Glorian ruoka ja viini (1/2012) (in English: Gloria’s food and wine).
- 3 dl whole milk
- 1 dl double cream
- 80 g licorice candy
- ¼ tsp ground clove
- 4 egg-yolks
- 1 ½ dl granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp corn starch (flour)
- 1 dl double cream
- ca ¾ dl granulated sugar
- ca ¾ dl cane sugar
Measure the milk and 1 dl of double cream into a saucepan.
Cut the licorice into very small pieces so that they will easily melt into the milk-cream. Heat the milk-cream mixture so that it almost boils and stir it simultaneously so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Take the saucepan off the stove and cover it with a lid. Let the licorice melt in for approximately 2 hours.
Strain the licorice milk through a sieve and pour it back into the saucepan. Season with ground clove.
Whisk the egg-yolks and sugar into a light foam. Heat the licorice milk a little. Whisk in the egg-yolk foam.
Mix the corn starch with 1 dl of double cream. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and mix it well with the licorice milk. Boil the mixture quickly on low heat, stirring constantly.
Pour the mixture into small ramekins. Lift the ramekins onyo a larger oven-proof dish and pour boiling water into the larger dish so that the water covers the ramekins half-way. Bake for about 1 hr in 135 °C.
Let the pudding cool down in room temperature for 1 hr and then refrigerate them for at least 3 hrs.
Just before serving the dessert, take out the puddings into room temperature. Sprinkle sugar on top of the pudding and toast the sugar surface quickly with a gas burner.
Ps. You don’t have to bake the crema catalana, that’ll just leave the structure more loose.
I just made my first successful batch of meringue! I can’t believe how easy it was after so many no-so-successful attempts. I made some crema catalana earlier and was left with 4 egg whites so I decided to give this recipe a go. I’m now very thankful I did! (I’ll be posting the crema catalana with licorice a little later on, it was yummy too). I found the original recipe in a Finnish blog called Punavuori Gourmet. Punavuori is a part of town in Helsinki, Finland :) I changed the original amounts a tiny bit but the recipe’s really not all that long.
ca. 50 meringues
- 4 egg whites
- 2,5 dl fine granulated sugar
Whip the egg whites in a mixer so that you’ll have the time and energy to whip it into a really thick and shiny white foam. Add the sugar little by little. Then you can just use e.g. a spoon to make small round “meringue kisses” on the oven plate. Bake in 120°C for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. The meringues should be dry and light when they’re done.
My mother has been making this salad for years. She’s found the original recipe in a Finnish cook book by Aura Liimatainen and the book’s called Parasta kotiruokaa (the best home made dishes). The recipe’s called American shrimp salad but I don’t think the name does this salad justice. It’s a fresh salad with some unexpected taste combinations and one day I’ll come up with a decent name for it :)
We made this salad again a couple of weeks ago when we were on a family holiday in the Finnish Lapland. This is such an easy salad to make and great as a starter, great looking dish for a party and also low carb with some good fats from the avocado. The salad is served with a strawberry sauce with no added sugar. This sauce really brings the salad to life and is a nice, colorful splash on the salad.
- 150 g frozen shrimp
- 1 grapefruit
- 2 avocados
- 1 ball of iceberg lettuce
- 3 dl strawberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp oil
- a touch of salt and black pepper
- Melt and drain the shrimp in a sieve. Peel the grapefruit and remove the film of the fruit flesh. This way the grapefruit will taste better and it’s a lot easier to eat and looks nicer.
- Cut the avocados in half and remove the stones. Use a teaspoon to remove the fruit flesh from the shells. Slice the avocados or cut them in cubes.
- Slice the salad and spread evenly on a shallow serving dish. Add the shrimp, grapefruit and avocado on top of the salad in separate sections.
- Mix the sauce ingredients and use a blender to create an even sauce. Serve the sauce from a separate serving dish.
I’ve found another fantastic cook book! The writers are my old favorites: Ola Lauritzson and Ulrika Davidsson from Sweden and the book is called 6 kilo på 6 veckor (6 kilos in 6 weeks). Yes, it’s kind of a diet book but then again not. You can eat low carb if you want to fix your diet and lose weight or just to maintain a healthy diet and your current weight. In either case you get to enjoy good food :)
The recipe then? This recipe here is a sightly altered version of the one in the book. I actually made it a little easier. In the book, Ola and Ulrika are using grilled chicken, but I’m always bummed about the sauces they use in the stores when grilling the chicken so I prefer natural chicken breast that I can season as I like.
This pie is just delicious! The first one I made didn’t last long – we ate the whole thing in a matter of minutes with my boyfriend and my good friend. It’s a lovely pie to serve as part of a brunch or as a salty pie for a party. It’ll also make for a nice lunch with a bit of salad on the side.
- 100 g butter
- 2,5 dl spelt flour
- 4 chicken breasts
- teriyaki-seasoning (Santa Maria)
- Chili powder
- Paprika powder
- 10-12 slices of chorizo sausage
- 1 small onion / 2 shallot onions / 0,5 red onion (you can pick your favorite!)
- 6-8 cherry tomatos
- 4 sun dried tomatos
- 0,5 pot of fresh basil
- ca 1 dl grated cheese (in the original recipe: 2 dl grated parmesan, which also sounds delicious)
- 3 eggs
- 2 dl cream
- salt and black pepper
- 0,5 dl pine seeds
Mix butter and spelt flour into an even dough. Press it into an oven proof tin and bake in 200°C for 10 min.
Slice the chicken breasts. Fry them in a dash of olive oil until they’re done. Season with teriyaki seasoning, chili powder, paprika powder according to your liking. Add the chicken on top of the pre-baked crust. Chop the onion and sprinkle on top of the chicken slices. Press chorizo slices around the pie, between chicken slices. Wash and cut the cherry tomatos in half. Set the tomato halves on top of the pie, the cut side facing up. Slice the sun dried tomatos and sprinkle on top of the pie. Last but not least, sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
Whip the eggs lightly using a fork and add cream. Season the mixture with black pepper and salt. Carefully pour the egg mixture on top of the pie so that it’s evenly spread. Decorate with pine seeds. It’s best to add the pine seeds last so that they roast a little in the oven and taste even better.
Bake the pie in 200°C for 25-30 min. Let the pie rest for a moment before serving. Serve with e.g. arugula or fresh salad.
Earlier this week I visited a couple – both wonderful friends of mine. They’d asked me over for a cup of coffee but when I got there, they had a very pleasant surprise for me: a delicious bolognese sauce and some fresh pasta, ready to be eaten! That bolognese sauce was so yummy that I’ve been craving for more ever since so I just had to make some of my own today.
The bolognese sauce I made turned out really tasty. I let it stew in peace and quiet with mild heat. The portion is surprisingly big so I had to use plenty of spices as well and ended up using all of our remaining chili powder into it. This is such an easy recipe for anyone to do and I can guarantee delicious pasta bolognese for anyone who tries :)
yields 4-6 portions
- 1 can (500 g) tomato passata / tomato purée
- 1 can (500 g) crushed tomatos
- 3 shallot onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- dash of olive oil
- 400 g minced meat
- dash of water
- Plenty of chili powder
- Plenty of paprika powder
- Black pepper
- White pepper
Finely dice the onions and slice the garlic cloves into thin slices. Fry the onions and garlic cloves lightly with a dash of olive oil. Don’t let them catch any color. Add tomato passata. You can use a little bit of water to rinse out the rest of the tomato from the can. Let stew with mild heat. In the mean time, fry the minced meat on a separate pan. Season with some chili powder and add to the sauce. Mix well. You can now also add the crushed tomatos. Again you can use a litte water to rinse out the rest of the tomato form the can. Let the sauce stew for ca. 20 mins and stir every now and then. You can’t cook this sauce too much – the flavor just gest better the more time you are willing to use. You can season the sauce while stewing. I usually add spices little by little until I’m happy with the result. This time I think I ended up using approximately 2 tsp of chili powder and 1 tsp of paprika powder and a little bit of salt and pepper.
Tomato is one of those veggies that is healthier when cooked! That already makes this a great dish, and the taste is of course a nice bonus :)
For the pasta I have only one tip which I’ve learned from my mom: After pouring out the water, I add a small amount of butter and mix well with the spaghetti. This way the spaghetti (or any other type of pasta) doesn’t get sticky and tastes really good!
If ever you end up in the middle of nowhere, and that middle of nowhere happens to be a city called Lahti in Finland, here’s a suggestion for a restaurant to go to for a delicious dinner. A couple of weeks back I had dinner with my parents and sister in a restaurant called Roux in Lahti. We had blinis (a traditionally russian food) and some delicious desserts. The whole dinner was great and we got extremely good service throughout the dinner so I can warmly recommend the place.
We ordered a selection of toppings for our blinis so that we could taste a bit of everything. Before serving the main course, we received a small greeting from the kitchen.
It was a beetroot puré soup with a horseradish foam on top and some sun dried tomato croquants.
We were also served three different types of bread, all baked in the restaurant. At least one of the breads was baked using an over 100 year-old surdough. Amazing and amazingly good. My absolute favorite was the one at the bottom – a spelt bread with rosemary. Yum!
One of the things I really enjoyed was how our waitress could tell us a story or two of the bread, the surdough, the wines they served, their new cook, etc. It’s these small things that, to me, make a place or a restaurant special.
The toppings were served on two long plates so each of us got our own row of toppings.
Unfortunately I don’t remember all of the toppings and as the restaurant has just updated menus, I have no way to cheat.
The blinis were huge – as the should be. Not those tiny little pancakes you often see but large, thick and moist blinis with a crispy surface. The waitress brought the blinis still frying on blini pans and served them straight away so that they were hot and ready to be eaten right away. She gave us a good piece of advice: 2-3 is a maximum we can eat. She was right too.
We drank a Riesling from Alsace with the food. Pino Humbrecht was a nice fresh combination with the greasy blinis and a great recommendation from our waitress.
As a dessert we had three different options.
My mother and sister tried the Roux special: triple chocolate.
My step dad tried a blood orange crème brûlée. It was ok, but the brûlée was quite bitter and we felt that it needed something sweet, or something to give it an edge instead of being Just Bitter. The dessert was still being fine tuned (the waitress told us this on before hand) and our greetings and comments were sent to the chef. I’m sure buy now this dessert has been fine tuned into perfection as well.
I chose a cardamom crème brûlée which was delicious. The strawberry fig salad is something I will definitely try to replicate in my home kitchen one day.
Rautatienkatu 7, Lahti
I can’t wait for it to be summer again! This wonderful starter is so fresh and delicious and yet so easy to make. Also, even though it’s easy to make and has few ingredients, it really looks festive and like proper gourmet. Tastes like it too! So here’s a beautiful, healthy starter for the sunny days:
Ingredients (for 4):
- 20 Fresh strawberries (ca. 5 per person)
- 1 bundle of Fresh basil (let’s say ca. 10 leaves per person.. one bundle will do for 2-4 people)
- 2 balls of Mozzarella (approximately half a mozzarella ball per person)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- Begin by setting a couple of basil leaves on the plates. Add a slice of mozzarella on top of the leaves – it’s good to use the largest slices at the bottom.Then add a few slices of strawberry on top of the mozzarella slice. Now sprinkle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil or chili oil, grind a little bit of black pepper and a touch of chili powder and salt. You’re done with the first layer.
- Now start repeating the layers. Add a few basil leaves, then a mozzarella slice, then a couple of slices of strawberry. Season as on the first layer. Continue adding more layers until you’ve used half a ball of mozzarella for each portion. For the top layer, use strawberries and a couple of pretty basil leaves. You can also garnish the portion with chopped basil leaves and sprinkle them on the sides of the plate.
You can serve this dish with some good quality balsamic vinegar – it goes well with the strawberries and basil and gives a bit of an edge to the taste combo.
Photo © Kalle Laine