maanantai 12. joulukuuta 2016


Ladies and gentlemen, meet THE GIRL, who made the whole Finland dizzy.
Her name is SAARA AALTO. "X-factor-UK- 2016" was the stage, and our Saara was the only foreign competitor. She's a fighter; not only did she survive, but got honourably all the way to the finals, and became the first runner up! Now all the doors are wide open for this multi talented, yet  modest, super star.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN "Saara & Adam Lambert"

This real life Cinderella story is an inspiration to many. Saara herself is a charming combination of hard worker, positive thinker and "suomalainen sisu" (= Finnish guts=never giving up FINN-attitude).

"Taste of my Finland" kept in mind Saara's affection for Disney princesses, pink colour and lush finish. The upshot: SAARA's victory-cake; crunchy meringue, roasted chestnuts filling, rose-scented cream-cloud and dark CHOCOOLATE. CHEERS SAARA 🏆



2 organic egg whites
white caster sugar to your taste
1 teaspoon corn starch
(1 tablespoon cointreau)

chestnut puree:
2 dl chestnuts
3 dl water
1 dl sugar
1 vanilla pod

rose-scented whipped cream:
double cream
red food colouring

dark chocolate for finishing touch

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then whisk in the sugar and corn starch (and cointreau). Using a large serving spoon, drop spoonfuls of meringue onto baking sheets lined with baking paper. Bake in 50℃ oven for an hour, or until the meringues are crunchy.

Cut a cross in the chestnut shell. (It's easiest to lie the flat side down on the table and to cut the X on the rounded side). Roast chestnuts in a 200℃ oven for 20 minutes (until you see the skin peeling off). Peel the chestnuts, one at a time, (remember to remove also the inner skin). 

Place the peeled chestnuts into a saucepan, cover with water. Add halved vanilla pod and sugar. Let boil until the chestnuts are tender. Then discard the vanilla, and puree the chestnuts with syrup. 

Whip the cream to soft peaks, then whisk in the rosewater and sugar. Colour the cream with red food colour. 

Top each meringue with chestnut puree, and whipped cream. Drizzle with melted chocolate. 



maanantai 3. lokakuuta 2016


Helsinki has hosted the BALTIC HERRING FAIR, silakkamarkkinat, ever since 1743. Marinated herring, dark and sweet archipelago style bread and sea buckthorn juice are the selling points. But the cool autumn wind grows also the popularity of anything that keeps you warm, like traditional hand- knitted clothes made of island sheep's wool...

Fisher boats from other seaside towns and all the way from the archipelago of Åland gather together in front of the Helsinki Market Square. All docks are reserved for the fishers, every year for one full week, starting always from the first Sunday of October.

TERVETULOA- sign welcomes visitors for a bowl of salmon soup.

Archipelagans sell fish and homemade bread directly from their boats.

Baltic herring is the star of the week, but salmon and vendace are popular snacks, too.

Some find sizzling muikku (vendace) far more delicious than the baltic herring itself.

Yesterday was the opening day of this year's herring fair, so, you'll have the whole week time to
enjoy the fish-feast. C U @ the DOCK.

maanantai 12. syyskuuta 2016


May I introduce my new jogging-buddy: Mr. Foxy.

We meet every evening, at the same spot at the same time. He crosses the road (patiently waiting on the sidewalk for the cars to pass by first).

He doesn't mind human companion, although vole burrows excite him much more. When you talk to him, he lifts up his head and listens, like good friends do.

Pokemon Go, is so last season. Fox Go is way more fun!

sunnuntai 4. syyskuuta 2016


It's harvest time. Mushrooms, lingonberries, plums, crayfish, apples, beetroots, sunflowers... You name it, nature is just waiting for you to pick them up.

This year has been an amazing "mushroom year". Traditionally July is sunny and dry, but, this year, well, just the opposite. Pity for the holiday season, but good for the mushroom lovers.

My dear friend was having her holidays in the Northern Finland, village called Inari. And she brought  along a special treat; MATSUTAKE mushrooms! (Männyn tuoksuvalmuska in Finnish). Chanterelles and Trumpet mushrooms are the more common delicacy, but Matsutake is a rare find.

The Matsutake-family travelled 13 hours on road, so, for the starters I took them out for a visit to the near by forest. To catch some fresh air... Then I made a pizza.

The unique scent of an Matsutake is at the same time spicy and nutty, pine resin- like. With a hint of a wet wool, but in a good way. It's hard to explain. The texture is more like a root vegetable than a regular mushroom. And the taste does need much salt at all, it's pure umami. Isn't nature just amazing?!

I cooked Japanese style Matsutake rice with combu dashi (seaweed stock), tamarin soya, sake, mirin, and nori powder.

Matsutake onigiri, the triangle shaped rice treat, matches quite well with another delicacy, which is  now on season, too. It's again the time of the year when Finns sing and dance, and celebrate crayfish parties. White nights have turned into dark evenings and candlelight dinners. Mother nature is in charge of planning the MENÙ.


sunnuntai 12. kesäkuuta 2016


Early morning is the best time to visit the forest.  The strong scent of the trees is leading the way, and bird-choir is welcoming visitors with a loud concert.

SUOPURSU, marsh tea, grows only at swamps, but is one of the most characteristics scents of the Finnish summer. It's like a mixture of mediterranean mountain herbs and the pine resin, but so much stronger, and wilder. You just have to experience it once, and that scent-memory will never fade.

Blueberries are blooming right now. It's the most delicate time of the berries lifeline; if it gets bitten by a frost, that's: "bye-bye blueberries". It HAS been snowing in Northern Finland, but these babies in the picture are blooming safely in the Middle Finland. In South we already have small green berries developing in the blueberry twigs.

This is also the time to enjoy the first local radish. Most Finns throw away the leafs, but they're actually just as delicious as the root itself. And, the radish-leaf-pesto makes a harmonic company for the cold smoked salmon.



100 g radish leaves
80 g grated parmesan cheese
50 g roasted sunflower seads
1 garlic clove
100 g extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon organic lemon juice
dash of black pepper

Rinse and pat dry radish leaves. Grate cheese, roast sunflower seeds and peel garlic. Put all the ingredients into the blender and make a puree. Add oil if you wish. Use instead of pesto genovese.


lauantai 21. toukokuuta 2016


Spring has finally reached Finland!
It is warm enough to enjoy the breakfast outdoors, on the ground... in a company of ladybugs and whistling birds.

Finns are a breakfast oriented folk. We learn at school that breakfast is the most important meal of the day... And we really believe in that, still when we no longer go to school. While the Middle-Europeans throw a sip of espresso and some croissant to their mouth on the way to the work, Finns pile butter, slices of cheese, ham, eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers in between their breakfast rolls.

But that's not all; no breakfast is complete without porridge and a huge pot of coffee!
It tastes surprisingly good every morning, but nothing beats the breakfast outdoors!


750 ml milk, or coconut milk
75 ml sheet semolina (grains)
dried coconut flakes
fresh berries or strawberry soup

Bring milk to boil, stirring constantly, add semolina, cover the pan and let simmer on a low heat for 10-20 minutes. Stir every now and them (to prevent the porridge from burning to the bottom). Season with sugar, salt and butter. Serve hot of cold, with strawberry soup and fresh berries or dried coconut flakes.

torstai 17. maaliskuuta 2016


Ice fishing is one of the nicest benefits of the cold winter. At this time of the year you see fisherwomen and fishermen, fisher girls and boys drilling holes into the ice and using their special ice fishing rod to fool the fish.

When you see someone dressed in a one-piece thermo jumpsuit, carrying a huge auger on the shoulder, it's a sign of a real winter.

Ice fishing auger is a huge, manpowered drill.

Drilling keeps fishermen warm.

The first catch of the day is always the most important one, no matter how small.

The bites (worms and caterpillars) are sold even at gas stations, and are available in different colors, like the lines as well.

Särki, (roach), is a common, but not very popular fish in small lakes. It's easy to recognize by it's red eyes. Fishermen say that särki has been partying till the wee hours, that's why they eyes are red, and it no longer ticles your tastebuds.

Finns love ahven, (perch). We fry them, stew them, poach them, deep fry them, bake in rye bread, or smoke them... And, of course, there's nothing better than a pot of perch, cooking in the oven on a low heat while you're taking a sauna, after a long day of ice fishing. The best winter supper, of all times.