maanantai 24. joulukuuta 2012

✰ CHRISTMAS ✰


Today there's no baking, and no cooking.
Taste of Finland wishes everyone a very merry and most delicious christmas! ✰










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torstai 6. joulukuuta 2012

95 YEARS OLD SUOMI-FINLAND


Today we celebrate our 95 years old, independent fatherland. Old and young gather together to salute the war veterans in a torchlight procession. The cathedral of Helsinki is an unusually popular spot today, when the president and the first lady attend the independence day mass.

At 6 pm every household lights 2 candles at window so that they are visible from outside, therefore it's also a perfect time to go for a walk. At night the number 1 ball is held in the president's castle, live coverage is shown on the national TV. But anywhere you go, you'll end up in a celebration, tonight is one big cocktail-party.

♡ HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELOVED SUOMI-FINLAND ♡


CRANBERRY PARFAIT

2 egg yolks
2 dl granulated sugar
4 dl double cream
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
2-4 dl frozen (Finnish) cranberries + extra for decorating

CARAMEL SAUCE
2 dl double cream
1 dl brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons butter

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, let simmer over a moderate heat, constantly whisking, until sugar is dissolved and the sauce as thick as desired.


Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until frothy, whip the cream and combine all. Mash 1/3 of the cranberries and mix all, mashed ones and whole, into the parfait. Pour the mixture into a cake tin or serving dishes and freeze for 4 hour or until firm.

Transfer the parfait to the fridge 30 minutes before serving, so that it softens slightly. Sprinkle frozen cranberries on top just before serving. Serve with caramel sauce.


SMOKED SALMON SPREAD

warm smoked salmon
creme fraiche

Remove any bones from the salmon and break it up into small pieces. Add the creme fraiche and mix with a fork. Fold in the capres and chives.

Cut bite sizes of rye bread or slightly sweet archipelago rye-malt bread. Serve on top of the rye bread.




EASY SALMON WRAPS

150 g thinly sliced (Finnish)cold-smoked salmon
200 g Philadelphia cream cheese, garlic and herbs flavored

Set salmon slice on a work surface, spread the cream cheese at one end of the fish. Squeeze together and roll the salmon into a tight log. Cut the log into bite-size pieces.


REINDEER-WRAPPED CHEESE AND PLUMS

175 g cured (Finnish) cheese
100 g thinly sliced (Finnish) cold-smoked reindeer
80 g walnuts
100 g dried stoneless plums

Cut the cheese into bite-size pieces, lay the reindeer slices on a work surface. Cut each reindeer slice into two, put a plum and a walnut on top of each half, wrap each end of the reindeer over the cheese and nut, secure with a toothpick. Repeat until all the ingredients are used.












perjantai 30. marraskuuta 2012

SEASON OF CINNAMON AND GINGER


The temperature has finally dropped below zero, and snow is painting the landscape pure white. TALVI, the winter has officially reached Finland, and we love it! This marks also the beginning of the cinnamon and ginger -season; cookie baking, mulled wine tastings and cosy gatherings.




GINGERBREAD

500 g all purpose flour + extra for baking
225 g granulated sugar
225 g butter, room temperature
1 egg, organic
3 tablespoons dark syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon, grind
1 teaspoon gloves, grind
1 teaspoon ginger, grind
1/2 teaspoon bitter orange peel, grind
1 teaspoon cardamom, grind

Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl until well combined. Sprinkle flour to a baking surface and roll out the batter to a thin sheet. Press different shapes with a cookie cutter, line a baking tray with baking paper and bake gingerbreads in a 200 degrees Celsius oven for about 5 minutes. Cool on wired racks and decorate with sugar icing.



MULLED WINE

1 bottle (75 cl) of red table wine
2 dl water or fruit tea
1 lemon, chest and juice
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
2 cardamom
fresh ginger, size of your thumb nail, peeled and sliced
sugar according to your taste

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, warm the drink on moderate heat, DO NOT let boil. Sieve spices and lemon chest out, serve mulled wine when still steaming hot. Put sliced almonds and raisins on the bottom of each class, serve with a long spoon.


CINNAMON CREME CARAMEL
2 dl granulated sugar to coat the molds
5 dl light cream or whole milk
1 vanilla pod
4 organic eggs
1 organic egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon grind cinnamon
3/4 dl granulated sugar
in addition to that you also need creme caramel ramekins, or ovenproof teacups, and large enough baking dish to make a water bath for all the individual creme caramels

Melt the sugar in a pan, watch carefully not to burn it, remove from the heat when the color is deep gold. Pour immediately into small ramekins swirling around to quickly spread the caramel all over the base and to cote the sides as well. Hot sugar sets quickly, so be fast, but don't burn your fingers.

Heat the milk (or cream) and split vanilla pod in a saucepan,until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, remove vanilla and whisk together cinnamon, sugar and eggs.

Put ramekins in a deep baking dish and pour boiling water into the dish until it reaches halfway up the side of ramekins. Bake in a 175 degrees Celsius oven about 50 minutes. Remove creme caramels from the water bath and leave to cool before serving, preferably overnight. Store in a refrigerator.

Loosen the side of créme caramel with a sharp knife, put a serving plate upside down over the pudding. hold the plate and ramekin firmly together, quickly flip them over. Plate is now the right way up and the creme caramel pudding plops down with the caramel sauce.


OLD FASHIONED WINTER CAKE

5 organic eggs
100 g (about 1 dl) granulated sugar
100 g (about 1/2 dl) dark syrup
1/2 teaspoon grind cardamom
1/2 teaspoon grind bitter orange peel
1/2 teaspoon grind cinnamon
120 g (about 2 dl) all purpose flour

to decorate:
100 g dark chocolate
1/4 dl cream
sugar icing

in addition to that you also need butter to butter the cake tin and bread crumbs to coat the tin

Beat the eggs and sugar until foamy, add syrup, spices and flour. Butter the cake tin and add breadcrumbs, shake around to coat the base and the sides evenly. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake in 180 degrees Celsius oven about an hour, until the cake is set and a toothpick stick into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Melt the chocolate, add cream and let simmer over a moderate heat until dissolved. Pour the choco sauce over the cake, let set first, then decorate with sugar icing.





keskiviikko 31. lokakuuta 2012

APPLE SEASON



Apples have been in season already since the summer ended, and will hold their lead the until the end of the year. The colorful fruits remind of the autumn, but red apples belong also to our traditional christmas, along with dried fruits and nuts.

This year the harvest has been plentiful. Trees have carried more fruits than the owners can pick and store, and apples have been handed out for free. Right now the apple flavor is on everyone's tongue!


CINNAMON-APPLE PIE

pastry:
3 dl plain (all purpose) flour
1/2 dl brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
150 g cold butter
1-2 tablespoons cold water

apple filling:
2 dl dark brown sugar (e.g. muscovado)
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
1 vanilla pod, split
8 apples, pealed, cored and quartered
2 dl double cream
70 g ground walnuts
2 teaspoons sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Process the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor to combine. Add the butter, pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add then enough water to bring the dough together. Turn out onto a floured baking surface and form into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Place the dark sugar and cognac in a sauce pan over a low heat, stir to dissolve. Add the apples and vanilla pod, increase the heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until apples are just soft, not mushy. Remove the apples from the syrup and let cool, discard the vanilla bean.

Whisk the cream to a foamy whipped cream, add the cooled syrup and refrigerate.

Divide the pastry in half and roll each piece into a rough 3 mm thick circle. Line the base of an 18 cm pie dish with pastry. Spread the ground walnuts over the base and arrange the apples on top. Brush the tart edges with a little water. Cover the apples with the pastry lid, press the edges firmly together with a fork. Brush the top with water and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. With a fork, pierce tiny holes into the pastry. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown. Serve with vanilla cream.



APPLE JAM

1 kg apples
1/2 kg sugar (preferably jam sugar with pectine, but if it's not available, caster sugar will do)
1/2 vanilla pod, split
juice of 1 lemon
1 dl water

Sterilize the jars and lids on boiling water for at least 5 minutes.

Peel, core and shop apples. Bring sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and water to boil in a large pot. Add apples, let simmer until apples are softened.

Pour the apple jam into hot, sterilized jars, close the lids and let cool. Store in refrigerator.




HAPPY JOE CIDER

The latest joy for the Finnish cider drinkers is called "HAPPY JOE". The old fashioned looking bottles of local apple cider bring a smile on one's face, even before the first sip. The bottles are like fortune cookies, each cap hides a wisdom of happiness underneath. Like: "Smile happily and let the whole world wonder why", "Some pursue happiness, others create it", or "Happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything".

The sympathetic cloudy cider is a refreshing drink, but makes also a perfect autumn- marinade for any kind of meet or poultry.


APPLE SOUFFLÈ

2 egg whites
1 dl apple puree (or strained apple jam)
sugar according to your taste

you also need soufflé ramekins (or ovenproof teacups), butter and sugar to coat the ramekins

Butter ramekins lightly and sprinkle with sugar, coating them completely.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Wisk the egg whites to glossy and stiff foam, but not too dry, do not over do. Add first one-quarter of the egg whites into the apple puree. Add then the remaining egg whites (and sugar, if desired), and fold gently until blended.

Divide the batter among the ramekins, filling them until nearly full. Tap the base of each rameking on the work surface to ensure there are no air pickets. Level the surface of each soufflé by pulling a back edge of a large knife across the top or the dish. Whipe any drops of the outside away, otherwise they will burn, for sure. Run your thumbnail around the inside edge of each ramekin to make a groove (that helps the soufflés to rice evenly).

Bake the soufflés for about 15 minutes, until they puff out. Drop the temperature down to 180 degrees Celsius, once you put the ramekins into the oven. Serve straight away with vanilla ice cream.


APPLE MUFFINS

100 g butter, room temperature
1 dl caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 dl milk
2-2 1/2 dl plain (all purpose) flour (the amount varies depending how fluid the apple puree is)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1 dl crumbled walnuts
1 dl apple puree
175 g sliced almonds

Beat butter and sugar, with an electric mixer, until fluffy. Beat in eggs and milk. Mix baking powder with flour, and add the flour-mixture into the bowl. Beat until just combined. Fold in the walnuts and apple puree.

Divide batter evenly among lined muffin cups, fill each three-quarters full. Sprinkle tops with sliced almonds. Bake in a 200 degrees Celsius oven until cake tester inserted into centres comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.



EASIEST APPLE PIE EVER

8 apples
1-2 dl caster sugar (depending on how sour apples are)
1 dl water
1/2 vanilla bean, split

sweet shortcrust pastry:
225 g plain (all purpose) flour
150 g chilled butter + extra for buttering the pie tin
3 egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons cold water

Peal, core and halve apples. Bring sugar and water to boil, reduce heat and let simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add apples and cook until apples start to soften and caramelize.

Place the flour and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor still running, add egg yolks and process until combined. Add water and process until the dough comes together.

Butter the oven proof pie tin, arrange apples on the bottom, then cover with the dough. Bake in 200 degrees Celsius oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the surface turns golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


HALLOWEEN APPLES

Who says kids don't eat apples any more ?!
These rotten ones, filled with candy-worms, disappear from the halloween setting the second you turn your back.








perjantai 10. elokuuta 2012

BERRY SEASON


Berry season is the most perfect reason to goof around in forest. Wild berries are now in season, but so are the cultivated ones, too. Not everyone long for the country life, but everyone love fresh berries! The city slickers harvest their share at market squares. Berry picking, berry cleaning and preserving the nature's organic treats keep the Scandinavians extremely busy right now. Like bears, we fill our stocks for the long winter.


STRAWBERRIES


STRAWBERRY JAM
Grannie's 100 years old recipe

1 kg strawberries
1/2 kg granulated sugar
a drop of water

Clean the strawberries, pile berries and sugar into the saucepan, let stand overnight in the fridge (or if you're in a hurry, just 1 hour in the room temperature will do). Add a drop of water and boil strawberries in a medium heat 5-10 minutes, skim foam. Shake the saucepan, and pour the jam into hot class jars. Close the lids and let cool in room temperature. Store in the fridge.

OR IF YOU USE JAM SUGAR:
2 kg srtawberries
1 kg jam sugar
1 dl water
Put strawberries in a saucepan, add 1 dl water. Bring to boil, add the jam sugar gradually, constantly stirring. Turn down the heat to medium as soon as it starts to boil. Let boil in a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the stove, let the jam cool in room temperature, until the berries no longer pop up to the surface. Pour the jam into hot class jars, close lids and let cool in a room temperature. Store in refrigerator.

NOTE:
Jam sugar, gelling sugar, jelly sugar or sugar with pectin is a kind of sugar which is used to produce preserves. It contains pectin as a gelling agent and citric acid as a preservative. In the old days jam was made with regular sugar, but nowadays we prefer jam sugar, or if it's not available, you can use a mixture of regular sugar, lemon juice and pectin instead. But, always use at least granulated white sugar to make your jam, do not substitute with artificial sweetener, as it prevents the jam from setting. The real sugar, even without pectin, helps the jam set and also acts as a natural preservative.


Wild forest strawberries are tiny in size but huge in flavor.



CHOCO STRAWBERRIES

melt your favorite chocolate, dip the fresh strawberries in the chocolate, place on wire racks to set. Store in the fridge until serving.



JELLY BERRY CAKE

1 banana
500 g fresh strawberries
8 sheets of gelatine
2 1/2 dl granulated sugar
4 dl non-alcoholic pear cider

you also need plastic wrap and a container with a lid

Line a container with plastic wrap, clean and cut the strawberries, peal and cut the banana. Place berry and fruit pieces in the bottom of the container.

Soak the gelatin in cold water, heat 1 dl of cider in a saucepan, squeeze water out of the softened gelatine sheet, mix it with the hot cider until dissolved. Then add the rest of the cider (room temperature), mix and pour over the strawberries and bananas.
Set the lid on and let the cake set in a refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Open the lid, turn the cake upside down and peal off the plastic wrap.

NOTE: if you have any left over gelatin-cider, DO NOT pour it into drain ! Wait until its's set and scrape the jelly into garbage.



BERRY TERRINE

mascarpone cheese
vanilla sugar
granulated sugar
dash of lime juice
whipped cream
Digestive cookies
all sorted fresh fruits


Season the mascarpone cheese with sugars and lime juice according to your taste. Mix whipped cream with mascarpone. Crumble the cookies, pile cookie-crumble, mascarpone-cream and berries in layers. Top with berries.


For take away-picnic treat, build your berry dessert in a class jar.



Finnish cherries are quite bitter, often too bitter to be eaten fresh, but boiling with sugar turns them into delicious jam.




If you don't have a cherry pitter, halve the cherries and remove the stones


CHERRY JAM
1 kg pitted cherries
500g jam sugar (or 500 g granulated sugar plus added pectin according to manufacture's instructions)
2 tbsp cognac or cherry brandy (optional)

WHEN USING THE JAM SUGAR:
Put the cherries and 1 dl of water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Cook in a medium heat about 15 minutes, add the jam sugar gradually. Bring to boil and let simmer for another 15 minutes, skim the foam. Add cognac and mix. Remove saucepan from the stove, let cool for about half an hour (until cherries no longer pop up to the surface). Pour jam into hot jars, adjust caps and let cool in a room temperature. Store in fridge.


IF YOU USE GRANULATED SUGAR AND PECTIN instead of jam sugar:
Combine cherries, 1-2 dl water, and pectin in a saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly,skim foam and cook until cherries are as tender as desired. Add sugar and bring to boil, cook for 1 minute, skim foam, add cognac and pour hot into jars. Adjust caps and let cool in a room temperature, but store cherry jam in a refrigerator.





BLING-BLING BERRIES

5 dl red currants
1 egg white
200 g granulated sugar

Cake decorating could not be easier. Wash the berries and tap dry. Beat the egg white for a while, dip berries in egg white, on at a time, then roll in sugar. Let dry in a room temperature.



RED CURRANT JUICE

1 1/2 l cleaned red currants
5 dl water
3 dl sugar

Put the washed red currants in a saucepan, pour water so much that the berried are barely covered. Bring to boil and cook in a medium heat 10-15 minutes, until the color of the berries start to fade. Sieve the juice, add sugar, bring to boil and skim the foam. Bottle the juice in hot bottles, let cool in a room temperature. Store in refrigerator.


TIPSY BERRIES

white rum
fresh berries
granulated sugar

Pour 3 dl of rum into a class jar, weigh the berries and add equal amount of sugar. Add rum to cover all berries. Store in refrigerator and let stand for 3 months.