sunnuntai 2. tammikuuta 2011

LASKIAINEN




Laskiainen, Shrovetide, is a mid winter sliding festival in FInland, but it marked originally the beginning of the 40-day long Easter fast, practiced among the Catholics and the Orthodox Christians. Fasting was both spiritual and physical purification and meditation, while meat, milk, egges, cheese, butter and other dairy products were forbidden to eat. Shrovetide was the last change to enjoy those no-no- foods, therefore it was also one of the most delicious feasts.

Sauna is related in all the Finnish events, Shrovetide makes no exception. In olden days it was not advisable to talk much in the Shrovetide- sauna, or flies and mosquitos would bother you in the summer to come. Also, if men were the first ones to take a sauna, that would predict bull-calfs, but if women were faster, the cows of the household would give birth to cow-calfs. If a family took a Shrovetide-sauna early in the evening, it was guaranteed that they'd never be late from work or in a hurry for the whole year.

Sliding down the snow covered hills has been fun for the whole family, already in olden days. Good luck and a good harvest was most likely to follow you if you shouted at the top of your lungs while tobogganing "long flax, fine hemps and turnips of the size of a plate!" In the old agrarian days a whole village would attend tobogganing event, it was believed that the further your sled would slide, the taller the flax and the bigger the turnips would grow that year.

Nowadays Shrovetide is more of a secular festival season, a time to spend a day outdoors with friends and family and, of course, to enjoy special Shrovetide-dishes. Sliding day is celebrated 7 weeks before Easter, usually in February, when the spring sun shows up for the first time after too many dark winter months. Finns welcome the spring joyfully, with a wide smile on their faces. On Shrove Tuesday, kindergarten- and school- children are taken to spend the day tobogganing, ice skating or downhill skiing. Cities and many organizations arrange outdoor winter carnivals. It a great fun, when adults became kids again in the tobogganing hill. The treat, laskiaispulla, Shrovetide bun, crowns the day in the most delicious fashion.

A day outdoors grows a bottomless hunger, therefore the signature dish, pea soup is made well in advance. The sweet tooth waits for the Shrovetide desserts; crepes and the special bun filled with jam or almond paste and lots of whipped cream.

The timing of the event varies from year to year, connected to the easter. This year (2011) the sliding sunday will be at 6th March.
Have a nice Shrovetide !
As the Finns say "liukasta laskiaista!" = "have a slippery sliding day !"


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YELLOW PEA SOUP
500 g dried yellow peas (or green peas, as you wish)
3000 milliliters (3 liters) water
1 vegetable stock cube (10 g) or 1 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable stock concentrate
120 g bacon files
1 onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Cognac (optional)
salt according to your taste

Rince peas and cover them with water. Let soak overnight in room temperature.

Pour out water, rinse peas and strain the remaining water from them. Measure fresh water into a pot, add stock cube or fond together with soaked peas, let boil until peas turn soft (about 2 hours). Dice bacon, add to the soup.

Peal and chop onion. Heat the butter in a pan and saute copped onions before adding to the soup.

Pour in the Cognac just before serving, season with salt if needed. Serve the pea soup with strong mustard.


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CREPES
500 milliliters water
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
130-195 g (2-3 dl) wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
extra vegetable oil for frying the crepes
vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and jam for serving

Beat eggs, water and oil. Add flour and salt. Let mixture stand in a room temperature for 1/2 hour before frying.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan, scoop crepe mixture into the pan and fry each crepe from both sides, until golden brown.

Serve the crepes with whipped cream or ice cream and jam.

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LASKIAISPULLA, SHROVETIDE BUN

500 milliliters (5 dl) milk
1 egg
200 g (2 dl) sugar
1 tablespoon ground cardamon
1 teaspoon salt
22 g dry yeast
910-1050 g (13-15 dl) wheat flour
150 g butter of room temperature

1 extra egg for brushing the buns, whipped cream and your favorite red jam to fill the buns, icing sugar to decorate

Mix the 42-degree of Celsius milk (dry yeast activates in 42C), egg, sugar, cardamon and salt in a bowl.

Mix in an other bowl all the flour and the dry yeast. Mix gradually milk with flours, and in the end also the butter. Knead until the dough becomes elastic and smooth. Set aside in a warm place, cover with 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 (or slightly larger) piece of the dough and shape it into a ball. Place balls of dough evenly spaced on to prepared baking trays, set aside. Cover with tea towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Brush the buns with slightly whipped egg and bake in an oven of 225 degrees of Celsius (430 Fahrenheit) for 10-15 minutes, until well browned and cooked through.

Let cool before cutting and filling the buns with jam and whipped cream. Dust with icing sugar, just before serving.


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6 kommenttia:

  1. A delicious new food blog from my favorite Finn! I wish you all the best for your new adventure! I look forward to reading more! May 2011 bring you much happiness & success!
    Sissy

    VastaaPoista
  2. Thank You Sissy, your message reached me all the way in Osaka, Japan, and you are now our very first official reader ! I also want to wish you a new year filled with lots of adventures, and delicious memories !
    ps. if you want to practice your finnish, there are 2 other blogs freshly baked in my kitchen, full of food stories and pictures: isoaidinreseptilla.blogspot.com
    and
    juhlaopas.blogspot.com
    minna
    =D

    VastaaPoista
  3. I just love all the fresh pictures and your way of telling a story. I am dreaming of visiting Finland during the summer, and have red about the midsummer night, maybe you could publish a story about that?

    VastaaPoista
  4. Hello fan of Finland,
    you're welcome anytime! Winter is fun with lots of snow, but summer is without any doubt the high light of the year, and midsummer night especially. We have a coverage later on, closer to the event, coming up...
    Thanks for your encouraging feedback !
    MINNA
    =D

    VastaaPoista
  5. Moi,Minna!!! I just read your blog!And,and...this is really interesting even for me who do not often cook and is not good at cooking...(>_<)I just feel like"Ah,this might be kinda sign for me to begin healty life with your recipe!So,I'll try to make pulla again!!

    VastaaPoista
  6. Dear Satoko,
    I'm glad if I managed to inspire you !
    Thank you for your comment, and HAPPY PULLA BAKING !!!!!
    :D
    minna

    VastaaPoista

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