maanantai 12. syyskuuta 2016

"BEATS POKEMON"


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 much more fun!


sunnuntai 4. syyskuuta 2016

AUTUMN TREASURES


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.

THE MATSUTAKE FAMILY TRAVELLED 13 HOURS ACROSS THE WHOLE FINLAND. 
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.

MATSUTAKE-PIZZA; FROM FOREST, WITH LOVE.
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.

CRAYFISH IS IN SEASON, TOO.




sunnuntai 12. kesäkuuta 2016

"FOREST VISIT"


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
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.

RYE BREAD, COLD SMOKED SALMON, HARD BOILED EGGS AND RADISH-LEAF-PESTO, YAM!
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.

___________________

PESTO OF RADISH LEAVES AND ROASTED SUNFLOWER SEADS

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

"HELLO SPRING, NICE TO FINALLY MEET YOU!"


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!


SEMOLINA PORRIDGE

750 ml milk, or coconut milk
75 ml sheet semolina (grains)
salt
sugar
butter
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

"GONE FISHING"


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.



keskiviikko 2. maaliskuuta 2016

"GONE TO THE BEACH"


Believe it or not; the PICNIC SEASON has started!
Ok, I admit that occasionally fingers get numb, and your toes feel like icicles... But it's worth the effort.


Simplest things taste amazing outdoors; like seed-rye bread topped with egg- butter and shrimps.


Finns usually garnish traditional Karelian pies with EGG BUTTER (just a mixture of normal salted butter and chopped, hard boiled eggs). Egg butter accompanies also the rye bread nicely... Boiled shrimps finish the treat... And steaming hot soup keeps you warm.





Sunbathing at these latitudes requires "special equipment", such as sheepskins and even a red wine warmer.


... And right after sunset you're in a hurry to pack your picnic away, and head back home, to a hot sauna.


sunnuntai 7. helmikuuta 2016

SLIDING DAY FUN


Today is the sliding day, laskiainen, as we call it in Finland. Sliding down the hill, using any devise, is in a "must do"- list today. In the old days sliding day marked the symbolic-sliding into the period of Easter fasting. But it now means a fun filled day outdoors, cream buns and crepes.


TRADITIONAL POTATO CREPES

5 finely grated potatos
5 dl milk
2 dl plain flour
pinch of salt
butter
lingonberry jam

Wisk all the ingredients together to a smooth batter, until well incorporated. Let rest in a refrigerator for an hour.

Heat a little butter in a frying pan. When it's foaming, pour a thin layer of batter into the pan. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until the edges are solid and golden brown. (Let the pancake cook without shaking the pan, as there's no egg in the batter, and the uncooked crepe brakes easily.) Flip the crepe over and continue cooking for the same amount of time.

Serve with lingonberry jam (preferably homemade, but ready made will do, too. Available for example in IKEA).

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

Age plays no role, as one 50-years old FINN slides down with style.
("Down the hill, Finnish way"- footage has got English subtitles.)

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅❅