Tag Archives: Finland

Slow-Cooked Rye and Cranberry Porridge

Holiday season and childhood taste memories go together. I cooked this delicious porridge of rye meal and cranberry.  You need only four ingredients: rye meal, water, salt and cranberry or lingonberry.


For two large or three small portions you need: 1/2 l water, 2 dl rye meal, 1 dl mashed cranberry or lingonberry and 1/2 tsp salt. Soak the rye meal overnight in the water. Put the pan on low heat and add the cranberry mash. Cook on low heat for an hour. The longer you cook the porridge the better the taste. Add water if the porridge becomes too thick.

Add a teaspoon of agave syrup (or any other syrup) on top if you find the porridge took sour. Serve as such or with milk or butter-milk.

This is so delicious and healthy too. It is a porridge not served on ordinary weekdays as it takes time to cook. Lingonberry would be a more typical ingredient in Finland and when I was young most people would have buckets of raw-mashed lingonberry  in the cellar. All self picked, of course.





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Filed under Breakfast, Cooking, Recipes

Almondy Rhubarb Crumble

The rhubarb is growing really fast, at least 10 cm a day. It Sunday and soon it’ll be dessert time.

This recipe isfor six portions:

Two stalks of rhubarb, 2 dl cup of sugar, 1/2 vanilla pod, juice of 1/2 lemon and grated zest of one lemon


1,5  dl oatmeal, 1,5 dl almond flour, 2 tsp cardamom and 50 butter

Chop the rhubarb and put into a small pan. Squeeze in the lemon juice, scrape the vanilla pod and put the seeds and the halved pod into the pan. Add the sugar. Bring to boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Melt the butter and grace six small oven pans. I use the same ones as for creme brûlée, mix together the oatmeal and almond flour. Pour in the melted butter. Mix well,

Put a full table-spoon of the rhubarb into each pan and top with the crumble dough.

Bake in 175 C for 20 minutes. Serve with ice cream or natural yoghurt.

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Dessert, Recipes

The Gem of Old Town, Café Helmi

My town is full of cosy cafés offering most delicious cakes, coffees and teas. Café Helmi (Tee- ja kahvihuone Helmi) in Välikatu 7 is one of my favourites. Anything you choose in their bakery vitrine, anything and everything you taste is delicious. We have not once been disappointed.

The service is friendly and good. Often times I see a familiar face greet me for many of my students have had a part-time job there. Any time you step in you hear a mixture of languages, the two local ones Finnish and Swedish, and Russian, Spanish etc. There is a mix of tourists and locals, young and old, families, couples and friends.

You can choose between sweet and savory, and on weekdays they serve lunch. Each room has its own ambiance with slightly difference decor. Everything apart from the kitchen ware is from the past centuries. It is bohemian with small tables and corners to have private conversations and tete-a-tete, and larger sofa groups for larger parties.

As you sip your coffee you can study pictures telling about the history of the town – the Romanoff family and Tsar Alexander I, Diet of Porvoo in 1809, the Cathedral… Some of the town guides take their groups to Café Helmi and continue their guiding with help of the pictures on the walls.

Today we admired a fine set of old coffee cups and a coffee post on display in the window, art deco perhaps? They also had ad largish set of china on display and on sale on one of the cabinets or dressing tables in the main hall. Italian decorations and made in England.
The rose tea was delicious as was the coffee and the Danish. They were out of Shrove buns at around 12 – this bread bun filled with whipped cream and almond paste is a speciality served on Shrove Sunday.

Today we missed the buns and enjoyed sleigh riding at a distance as a bunch of families were active in the hill slope. The weather was just about perfect – sunny, blue skies and -4 C. I would have been fun to ride along, don’t you think?






Filed under Cafes, Miscellaneous on travelling, cooking and life in general

Tastes of Lappland

Spent the end of the week in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland and the largest town in Finland (as per area). Reindeer is by far the best delicacy but one should not forget the salmon, berries and home made bread-cheese.
A conference was the utmost reason to travel this far and surely worth the trip. Meeting old and new colleagues, exchanging ideas and getting new inspiration is best in large venues. We did of course have some leisure programme in the conference: visited Santa Claius, enjoyed listening to two splendid choirs and a wonderful recitation of the most famous contemporary Lappish author, Rosa Liksom.

The supermarket had a wide variety of meats, almost any type of game and so much reindeer. Bought a packet home and prepared sautéed reindeer today.

This is how I made it
450 g reinspdeer, thinly sliced, 70 g butter
1 medium onion, 1 clove of garlic, juniper berries
1 dl water, 2 dl beer, salt, black pepper, juniper berries

Melt the butter and add the meat, onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the liquid and sauté for 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Serve with potato mash and lingon or cranberries.a>



Filed under Miscellaneous on travelling, cooking and life in general


Finally, fresh from the forest.


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Filed under Dinner, Lunch

Risotto al funghi

This recipe combines Italy and Finland – the risotto and the oh so familiar taste of chanterelle. chanterelle, the golden mushrooms are so delicious. This time I did not pick them myself but went to the town market place.

Risotto for four
1,5 dl risotto rice
0,75 l water
1 tbsp vegetable fond
1 dl red wine
1 onion
1 l chanterelle
1 tbsp butter
0,5 dl grated Parmesan
a handful of parley
salt and black pepper

1 Chop the onion and sauté in olive oil.
2 Pour in the rice and sauté for a couple of minutes.
3 Boil the water and mix in the vegetable fond. Pour in with the rice little by little and let boil at low heat. Pour in the wine. Add water as it evaporates as the rice is cooking.
4 Clean the mushroom and put them in a hot pan. Add butter when the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.
5 Mix the risotto, mushrooms, Parmesan and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy in good company with some Chianti and water.


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Filed under Dinner, Recipes

Streat Helsinki – Gastro Festival


Today thousands of people enjoyed street food at the various vendors in the heart of Helsinki. The quarters around the Market and Senate Squares were full of food stalls, odors one more delicious than the other. The streets were crowded – packed with people. Queues were forming already at around 11 am.
The vendors came from all over the world – local vendors with organic food, visiting vendors with tastes from Texas, Tallinn, New York, Stockholm, etc. You could choose between BBQ, traditional hot dogs, hot dogs with pulled pork (that is very hip at the moment),  meze, sook, , Iberian pork, charred beef, tacos and what not. The dessert stands offered e g cupcakes and Balinese chocolate cake.
Helsinki is at its best!  The weather is gorgeous. It was only last week that we got 15 cm of snow and it was -10 C. Now almost all the snow is gone and the thermometer hit +7 C. Hope you have a change to enjoy the festival. If you haven’t got a change to visit Helsinki discover the festival online at
Streat Helsinki
Visit Helsinki

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Filed under Miscellaneous on travelling, cooking and life in general

Home-made Charred Baltic Herring


In colder weather we have lit the stove and this has made my husband crave for charred fish. And the other day when I run across the fish griller in the basement, I finally had to go and check out if the local fish monger’s had any fresh Baltic herring. They did indeed and we prepared a dish that took us both back the memory lane .
My grandpa would always make charred Baltic herring in the tile oven in the hallway. It is the smell of charred fish that takes me back to childhood, memories of taste. We would often make them at the open fire place at home. This was an easy and so delicious meal to make after sauna. We got a charring iron for the cottage and forgot it in the basement when moving.

This dish is so easy to make, you only need fish and salt. We are quite happy to eat the fish with bones and all. With fingers! I prefer to have the fish with their heads on. They look much prettier that way but this time I could get only ones that had been cleaned and decapitated.

This is what you need for four.

700 g Baltic herring
1 tsp salt
Charring iron
Heat a stove and let the wood get charred. Place the fish in the griller and sprinkle with salt. Charr the fish for about 5 minutes on both sides.

Serve as such with water or lager. Serving the fish with potatoes, green salad, eggs and cucumber makes. the dish more of a meal.






Filed under Dinner, Lunch, Miscellaneous on travelling, cooking and life in general, Recipes

Pollo Limonello finlandese


A recently published cookbook by a trendy bar in Helsinki reveals the recipe of their best seller pasta, Pasta Limonello. Even Helsingin Sanomat, the national newspaper wrote about it stating however that the pasta is just not quite as good as at the bar, Cafe Bar 9 (HS on 16.1.2014). The cookbook is called Pollo Limonello – parhaita paloja Ysibaarin keittiöstä (best bites at Bar9).

I’d heard but not tasted the pasta and therefore had to try the recipe. This was not after the book review but after browsing at the cookbook in a museum shop. Namely that of museum of contemporary art Kiasma.
I wonder what the original Italian dish would be like, would they put cream and ginger in pasta? Certainly not yoghurt.

I had to meddle the recipe as always and upon a Google check I realised that many had done the same.

This is my version of the pasta for four:
3 chicken breast files, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp grated ginger
2 dl double cream
Juice of half a lemon, rind of a whole lemon
2 tbsp honey
2tsp ground turmenic
1 tbsp chicken fond
2 dl natural yoghurt
Salt, pepper
300 g spaghetti

Brown the chicken filets in butter. Sautée the onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the cream, garlic, lemon, turmenic, ginger and honey. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Add the yoghurt and season with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta while the sauce is cooking. Mix together and serve with grated Parmesan.
Yummy! Much better than I thought.


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Filed under Dinner, Miscellaneous on travelling, cooking and life in general, Recipes, Restaurants

Christmas Parcels from Kitchen

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Christmas is almost here! I’ve spent all morning wrapping presents. This is the view from my kitchen window this morning. It is snowing and minus 9 degrees Celsius. The sun rose about half an hour ago. We get very little daytime light in Helsinki this time of year. But… happily enough it is winter solstice today!

This year I’ve again made some food presents and they are bread with dates, horseradish and mustard marinated herring, cookies, fruit cake and rowan berry jelly.


The date bread is my favourite and the past years I’ve baked it with fresh dates. It is almost as good with dried ones. For one bread you need:
5 dl water, 1 dl syrup, 2 crushed rye grains, 1 dl malt extract for home-made ale, 1 dl sunflower seeds, 4 dl graham flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 dl chopped dates and 1 tsp salt.
Mix the liquid and the syrup in a bowl. Mix together all the dry ingredients and then mix them with the liquids. Grease a bread tin and line it with baking paper. Bake the bread in 175 Celsius for 1 ½. Let it cool on a rack for a moment and remove it from the tin. The bread is best the next and following days. Serve with butter or blue cheese. I keep it in the fridge and take it out to warm before serving.
This recipe is from a local co-op’s magazine some years ago.

Horseradish and Mustard Marinated Herring

I picked this recipe up in the same Christmas programme where I found the warm red cabbage salad. Herring is traditionally part of Finnish (and Swedish) Christmas and we make it in many ways. This is very good but nothing mild! Beware when tasting the sauce! You might go easy with the horseradish.

This is what you need for a jar of delicious herring and six servings: 1 package of lightly salted herring filets, 1 dl mayonnaise, 1 dl sour cream, 1 dl chopped chives, 4 tbsp freshly grated horseradish, 2 tbsp sweet mustard, 1,5 Dijon mustard (French), 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp vinegar, white pepper.
Mix all the ingredients together. Cut the herring into small pieces and add them to the sauce. Dish into a glass jar and keep refrigerated for at least a day. The herring will keep for a week or so. Serve with boiled potatoes and other Christmas fish or with rye bread.

Rowan Berry Jelly
1 kg of rowan berries, ½ l water, 600 g of jelly sugar (this is Dansukker’s recipe, http://www.dansukker.fi)
Rinse the berries and cook them for an hour or so. Strain the berries and pour the juice back to the pan. Add the sugar and cook until the jelly is ready. You can test the readiness by dropping a bit of the jelly on a plate and putting it into the fridge. Run a spoon through the jelly drop and it you there is a line in the jelly, it is ready.
I had some problems this year because I used frozen berries and they needed some more cooking and more sugar.

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20121221-091207.jpg You can find the cookie recipe in the other blog of today (butter cookies).

The heavy chores this morning asked for a heavy breakfast. Café au lait and a sandwich with fried egg and Parma ham. Yummy! I have a whole chunk of Parma ham in the fridge!


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Filed under Baking, Recipes