Not that Traditional and Traditional Midsummer Feast

Midsummer is a feast for barbecues and you can practically smell the grills sizzling as you drive to your countryside paradise i.e. your own or your family’s summer cabin. I wanted to cook something different this year and had the grill there only for the programme. Thus the menu was tortillas for a late lunch on Midsummer’s Eve on 24th and a barbecue with sausages after sauna followed with grilled nectarines with honey and yoghurt (I’ll blog the recipe later). For lunch on Midsummer Day we prepared dishes with more traditional ingredients like herring, eggs, new potatoes and salmon.

All the family knows our summer kitchen for the sizzling steaks and vegetables so we might have brought about some disappointment. Our cottage life is down to basic and we live in the nature without electricity and running water. This means naturally some changes to our normal diet and everything needs to be fresh out of the store. The stone cellar keeps cheese, butter and vegetables fresh. I’ve also found some yoghurt types that keep for longer than one day. Oh well, you might wonder how we can make do with this but it is some of the delights of summer and quite ecological too, don’t you think. Thanks to this we go to the market place and have found a local farmers’ market store Luomo.

The tortilla feast was easy to prepare. My sister made the spicy minced meat sauce at home. The tortillas, sauces, guacamole and salsa sauce were convenience food. Other tortilla fillings were sour cream and sliced lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. This meal was really easy to make and delicious. This time we tried wheat and maize tortillas, and tortillas flavoured with tomato. I have baked tortillas a couple of times at home but want to make allowances every now and then even though I hate convenience food in principle. I’ve given myself more leeway after hearing one of our Michelin star chefs, Hans Välimäki, tell that he buys spinach pancakes for his kids. The pancakes are much too complicated to prepare and the convenience pancakes are just as good for the kid’s lunch. Well, oh well… Välimäki runs (and owns) a two-starred restaurant Chez Dominique in Helsinki, he is a cookbook author and top chef judge.

I’m not giving you the meat sauce recipe because it is my sister’s. In the end I did not grill the nectarine because my sister arrived with an apple pie. The recipe for the herring salad comes from my auntie.
The lunch was herring salad, new potatoes, corn cobs, mixed salad with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber, cold-smoked salmon, salmon sauce with mustard and eggs. Everything tasted of summer and was easy to make and what more, absolutely delicious.

Herring Salad

feeds at least 8, takes 15 min to prepare

150-200 g herring in a pickle e.g. Matjessill, herring in a dill sauce
2 – 3 dl cottage cheese
1 dl chopped dill
2 spring onions and onion stems
2 dl sour cream
white and black pepper

Cut the herring into small pieces, chop the dill and onions.  Mix all the ingredients. Taste and add pepper to taste. The salad is at its best if you let it rest in the fridge for a day. If there is any leftover salad, eat it with rye bread (on the bread).

20120626-071111.jpg This is our Midsummer scene by the sea in Western Finland. The pics are taken at 10 pm. We have the midnight sun!

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