Greetings from the northern edge of the Europe! I am happy to announce that
TASTE OF FINLAND is back, thanks to your activity and messages!
Not much has changed here, except, now I cook the Finnish delights with energy like never before; since I just graduated as a licensed chef.
"TASTE OF MY FINLAND" is the new name of the reborn Finn-food-blog, I sure hope my recipes and stories will tickle your taste buds. And, as always, I enjoy reading your comments, so, if there's anything on your foodie-mind, please use the comment box under each post or send me a mail; email@example.com.
What a better way to restart the food blog than a mid-winter food festival?!
27th of February Finns celebrate the "laskiainen" = "sliding day" = "shrovetide", with appropriate garnish of traditional cream buns and slow cooked porky pea soup.
The tradition marked originally the beginning of a 40- day long Easter feast. "Laskiainen" was the very last chance to enjoy the rich and fatty foods for a long time. Although in the old days the "sliding" meant a slide into the feast, in modern, secular, Finland it simply symbolizes the slippery tobogganing event. (And the creamy buns!!!)
LASKIAISPULLA, the sliding-bun, divides the nation... You either belong to the jam-supporters or the almond paste-supporters. There's no such an opinion as "whatever" or "anything goes", it's one or the other.
Anyway, all the buns look the same, it's the taste that counts. (Doesn't this shrovetide-wisdom sound like a proverb?!) First you bake a cardamom-flavored bun, slice it, and then fill it with almond paste or rasberry jam and finish it with lots of whipped vanilla cream... The amount of cream is enough only when you realize with the very first look at the bun, that it's impossible to eat it without making a mess.
500 millilitres milk
200 g sugar
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
22 g dry yeast
about 1000 g wheat flour
150 g butter, melted
You also need another egg for brushing the buns, whipped cream and jam or almond paste (for homemade paste; mix almond flour+cream to a paste), and icing sugar to decorate.
Mix the 42- degree (dry yeast activates in 42℃), egg, sugar, cardamom and salt in a bowl. Mix in another bowl all the flour and the dry yeast. Blend gradually milk with flour, and in the end also the butter. Knead until the dough becomes elastic and smooth. Set aside in a warm place, cover with a tea towel and let rise for 40 minutes.
Punch down dough and turn onto lightly floured surface, knead for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Pick an egg size piece (or slightly larger) of the dough and shape it into a ball. Place balls of dough evenly spaced (leave room to rise) on to prepared baking trays, set aside. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Brush buns with slightly whipped egg and bake in an oven of 200℃ for 10-15 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through. Let cool before cutting and filling the buns with jam/almond paste and whipped cream. Dust with icing sugar, just before serving.
Another sliding day dish is the porky pea suop, slow food at its best. The taste gets better every time you reheat the soup, therefore it's a perfect outdoor snack.
SPLIT PEA & HAM SOUP
1 pealed and chopped onion
500 g dried split peas
3 litres of water
500 g-1 kg ham bone
salt, pepper and dried marjoram to taste
Let the peas soke in water overnight. Cook them in the same water with ham bone and onion, until the meat is tender and peas soft, and the soup resembles a stew or a casserole. Shred the meat to bite-size, remove the bone, season with salt, pepper, marjoram and mustard.
No matter if you slide with your skis, ice skates or a sledge, as long as you spend the whole day outdoors and keep up the speed. As Finns wish to each other this time of the year "liukasta laskiaista"= "have a slippery sliding day!"