Tag Archives: fish

Tastes of Stockholm in February

We have a plan to make only short trips to close by areas this year and the first trip has just finished. We headed to Stockholm, the ever so beautiful capital of Sweden, like so many others during the winter holiday week. We quite enjoy visiting the city we know so well and like to stay in different parts of the town. This time we stayed in Östermalm, the West-End of Stockholm, one of the posh parts of the town. This was mostly due to an excellent hotel discount offer. We also loved the idea of us travel from Östermalm, Borgå to Östermalm, Stockholm.

Eating is and has always been the main attractions on our travels along with museum  visits. Eataly, the Italian gourmet shop and restaurant, had just been opened and was thus a main attraction. Yes, I know, why eat Italian in Sweden? We did not actually have a meal at Eataly but wanted to see how the concept was modified for the Scandinavian market. The location and premises are great, impressive – see their website for all the services and activities offered. Much to taste and see, much to enjoy in this luxurious former theatre.  We were certainly not the only tourists and foodies there inspecting the store. The experience was not quite the same as upon visiting Eataly in Italy but it is naturally because were not in Italy, it was not summer and there were no departments with wine shelves and tastings (as we were in Sweden with state monopoly over retail in alcoholic beverages just like in Finland).  Maybe we go and have a meal next time around when it is less crowded.

Östermalms saluhall, the food halls of Östermalm, was another attraction and this for lunch. The old food halls are being renovated and there was temporary set up for the stalls. Lisa Elmqvist Fish, Seafood, Delicatessen & Restaurant was the place for lunch – this restaurant dates back to a 1926 when Lisa bought a stand in the food halls. It is the fourth generation running the company today the food stalls, catering and restaurant. I enjoyed fried lemon sole with beet root and capers and by husband halibut with truffle-lobster sauce.


Some other places were stopped by were Wiener Caféet (Bibilioteksgatan), Fabrique (Humlegårdgatan) , Sally Voltaire & Systerar (Åhlens) with healthy meals and raw food. We also shared a delicious pizza at Jamie’s Italian (Scandic hotel Anglais). Quite a lot of fika, Swedish coffee with sweet treats all day long, and other goodies. Have a look at the pictures. We stayed only for a day and half yet experienced a lot. It was a trip with some 30,000 steps out and about the town plus a couple of metro (tunnebana) journeys.  Apart of the food we enjoyed sunny crisp winter, window shopping, people watching and a couple of museums. Interior decoration, cookery shops and book stores are always on our list on mini- and longer breaks.



The Stockholm Museum of Photography (Fotografiska) never lets me down. The exhibitions are ever so intriguing and statement taking like the ones on right now. What more is that the museum opening times are excellent as it stays open practically all night. I’ve once also participated an evening guided tour that started at 9 pm. The museum shop is excellent and the restaurant experience so fabulous. Their concept is of conscious food philosophy is based on organic and plant-based kitchen. The man behind the restaurant is Paul Svensson, a famous, chef of the year, TV and cookbook author to name just some of his merits. Once again, I had not book a table in advance and thus we could only enjoy the café-bar with the great view over to Skeppsholmen och Djurgården (islands of Stockholm).

The exhibitions on are Fearless & Fabulous by Chen Man, a talented young Chinese photographer and designer. She is a pioneer in Chinese fashion photography, very successful and known also in the western world. She mixes eastern and western traditions, techniques as per the museum introductions. I particularly liked the fashion portraits taken in Tibet.


Somnyama Ngonyama/Hail, the Dark Lioness is a collection of portraits by Zanele Muholi a South-African photographer. The photos pose questions on social justice, human rights and contested representations of the black body, as stated in the museum home page introduction. The all black-and-white portraits were powerful. I felt they first opened on the surface – the image you saw – and then as you looked on in depth.


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Sunday Lunch with Ginger Salmon and Basil Vegetables

It’s ages since my last post. Sorry folks! The spring is always such a busy season. It is Palm Sunday today and Easter is just around the corner.

We have already cooked asparagus and made salad with avocados and smoked salmon. Today called for another lighter meal and I went for salmon. The ginger and lemon give a lovely fragrance to the fish and the basil to the vegetables.

Both the recipes are for two.

Lemon and Ginger covered Salmon

400 g salmon filled
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 lemon, washed and sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce

1 Pre-heat the oven to 175 C. Place the salmon filled in a greased oven-proof form.
2 Sprinkle on the chopped ginger and soy sauce. Cover with lemon slices.
3 Cook in oven for approximately 30 minutes.

Basil Carrots and Broccoli

200 g broccoli
4 small carrots
handful of basil, olive oil, salt

1 Rinse the broccoli and cut into smallish pieces. Wash the carrots and peel them if needed. Cut into oblong pieces, not quite as thin as julienne.
2 Let the cooking water come to boil, add salt and the carrots. Cook for five minutes.
3 Add the broccoli and cook for about 10 minutes.
4 Pour out the water. Add the basil and olive oil. Serve instantly with the ginger salmon.instantly with the ginger salmon.

Try zucchini with sardines and garlic for starters in another post.

ginger salmon

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One-Pot-Cod with Tomatoes and Olives

The March-April issue of ELLE mat & vin finally arrived. There were post on it at the Facebook site but it took a bit longer for the magazine to reach this side of the Baltic Sea.
Eagerly I started turning the pages, reveling on the delicious pictures and recipes. The first recipe I tried is this as it seemed like a delicious and easy recipe for a Friday evening (ie last night). Also, the list of ingredients sounded very promising.

This is what you need for a meal for two:

300 g cod fillets
olive oil
1 onion, 1 garlic clove
250 g cherry tomatoes
1,5 dl white wine
lemon thyme, salt, pepper
2 dl Calamata olives
1 dl capers

Turn the oven on 200 C.
Chop the onion and garlic. Halve half of the tomatoes. Cut the fish fillets into smaller pieces, 4-5 each.


Sautée the onion until golden brown. Add the garlic and halved tomatoes. Cook for a couple of minutes.


Cut the fish and place in an oven pot greased with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.


Pour the onion tomato mix over the fish. Season with lemon thyme, pour in the pitted olives and the rest of the tomatoes. Pour in the wine.
Cover with kitchen foil and cook in 200 C for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and grill for 5 minutes.

Serve with potato mash (6 small potatoes, 50 g butter, 1 dl full milk, salt and white pepper) and green salad. Truly a lovely meal for an evening in early spring. Brings in summery flavours of thyme, fish and tomatoes.


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Happy Sunday at Sicapelle

Another delightful experience in our home town.

We are so lucky to be living in this culinary heaven. Not much to hope for in the restaurant scene – there is plenty to choose from. This is a small town and we have so many excellent restaurants. The selection is good also for gourmands who want to take the experiences to their own kitchens – local and organic raw materials to buy.


Sicapelle is a tiny place, up the hill and next door to the medieval cathedral in Hotel Onni [Happiness]. The restaurant is, as they put it “SicaPelle Wining & Dining is our tribute to life’s joys and eccentricities, laughter, pleasure-seeking, exceptional food and wine, art and, most of all, Ville’s dear pet pig, SikaPelle.” (at Sicapelle.fi) Vallgren is a 1900th century artist and sculptor,  gourmand and originally from Porvoo.

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Wiser from the brunch the previous weekend, we booked a table and arriving
at this rather late brunch in the mid afternoon, we were happy to have done so.
As we stepped in the restaurant was full with no empty tables. Great, always a
good sign! There were cheerful greetings and a familiar face too. A former

Sicapelle is not a place with white table clothes but an easy-going ambience  – still fine dining I would say.  Simple and modern decor in an old house – black and white with earth colors. Dashes of orange and violet. The food is the main attraction. The smallish room with the buffet table and bar, upstairs with seats for 10 or so.


The starters were served at a buffet table – traditional Finnish tastes and new tastes. Cured and smoked fish, mushrooms, cabbage, tomatoes, feta and olives, yellow beats…. We wanted to taste them all – but not eat too much. An exceptional amuse-bouche – bratwurst with Dijon mayonnaise – what should we think. We’ll it was something of a surprise, especially when served on a tile (black,10 x 10 cm).

Today’s main courses were fish o meat – whitefish or lamb. I went for the fish – whitefish, pureed Jerusalem artichoke, carrot, risotto of barley, beurre blanc. And a glass of German white of Pinot blanc.

He chose lamb served with beets and a game sauce. And Rosso di Montalcino Argiano. They have a selection of wines from Piemonte – especially by Angelo Gaja. Something to try with a dinner!


The desert was the best: something sweet on the menu on the Internet and first introduced as mud cake. It was so much more! Mud cake with pistachio cream, raspberry mousse and purée, bilberry jelly and salty butterscotch that took your tongue!


After having enjoyed this we could nothing but note how lucky we were. Small joys of life – good food and wine! What a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Eating is after all most delightful and it is becoming more important each day.

As they put it themselves “SicaPelle Wining & Dining is our tribute to life’s joys and eccentricities, laughter, pleasure-seeking, exceptional food and wine, art and, most of all, Ville’s dear pet pig, SikaPelle.” (at Sicapelle.fi)

See for yourself what the restaurant is all about at http://www.sicapelle.fi/. Don’t miss the movies!

There is  more to come about Porvoo and  its restaurants & wining and dining. Another newcomer, Sinne,  landed among the best 20 restaurants in Finland, Place 11, already within a year of its opening. I will tell you more about the restaurant Sinne later – perhaps something for you too to look forward to!







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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

Night out at Italo

gelato e sorbet di limone

Do you know a better way to start the weekend than an evening out dining with friends?
The outing on last Friday was perfect. I hopped on a bus to Helsinki straight from work. It is so convenient to take the bus and I really prefer it to driving. You come straight into the city to the shopping areas, restaurants and museum. I did a bit of shopping round at the sales finishing and stopping at the Forum shopping centre for dinner in ristorante Italo.

The restaurant is located in the top floor of the refurbished shopping mall of Forum. They have created a restaurant world there.

Along with the welcoming waitress there was a ripple of conversation and laughter welcoming me as I stepped in. There were smaller groups and couples there and the restaurant was nearly full around eight o’clock. The decor is cozy and Italian inspired with small wooden tables and chairs. There are even olive trees and murals. The lamps made of magnum wine bottles. The pictures on the walls take you to Italy; photos of famous sights and typical snapshots that could be from anyone’s camera colorful doors, gates, windows, landscapes, balconies etc.  They take you easily back to Italy and the holidays – before the tastes do it.

Once you have stepped in to the restaurant you see that the area is quite big with an open view to the kitchen. There is a larger dining area under a glass roof which I believe could resemble an Italian piazza and possibilities for bigger tables, and cozy smaller area in the back.

The menu is varied. You’ll find almost anything and everything – antipasti, insalta caprese, vitello tomato, pasta bolognese, spaghetti, vongole, pecorino, carciofo, gorgonzola, risotto, pizza, tiramisu, pannacotta etc. The abundance made it difficult to decide what to order. We started with an antipasto platter still undecided what to have as mains.

The platter was full of delicacies served on a wooden platter: Parma ham, olives, salami, figs. As the main we tried rump steak, trout and risotto with pig’s cheek and finished off with dolci of chocolate, lemon sorbet and ice cream.

The pig’s cheek ristotto (risotto con guanciale di mailae) was buono! The pig’s cheeks were really tender and delicious. The risotto al dente as it should with distinct taste of Italy – hints of white wine, lemon and Parmesan. It was made with a bit of cream but was delicious despite of that. The risotto I’ve learnt to make in Tuscany does not have any cream but there are of course many variations. The portion was generous, plenty for two I thought.
My friends had trout and rump steak. Both delicious! Have a look at the great pictures by Vison51 and Kim Ekman!

antipasti Antipasti

risotto Italo1 Risotto

rump steak Rump-steak

trutta Trout

Deciding on the dolci was not easy. Plenty to choose from. You went for lemon ice cream and sorbet (gelato di limone e sorbetto di limone). They actually had lemon sorbet with Limoncello on the dessert menu (see the picture!). I was tempted to take the misto di cioccolato with chocolate mousse, petit fours and chocolate ice cream but decided on something lighter. It looked very good and my friend tells it was so gooood! I know what to have next time.

gelato e sorbet di limone Sorbetto e gelato

Check out the place if you happen to be in Helsinki. It’s really centrally located and a place easy to pop in for a meal – a late lunch after a shopping spree, before going to the cinema or an evening out after work.

Ristorante Italo, Kukontori in Forum Helsinki.
You can check the menu here, I’m sure you can read it even though it is in Finnish

Vision51 http://www.vision51.com/

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Quiche with Pastrami Salmon

The evenings are getting chillier and darker. Now we can finally lit lanterns in the garden. Chillier weather calls for heavier meals. We were expecting some company on Friday nights and after having had a peak in the fridge I decided to bake small quiches from the leftovers of the previous day. That was salmon pastrami and oven-baked tomatoes.

This is how to make the quiche dough for small quiches baked in muffins form, making 10-12 quiches. Alternatively you can bake a large pie:

90 g butter, 4 dl flour, dash of cold water

1 Pre-heat the oven to 200 C.
2 Mix the cold butter and flour in a kitchen aid or by hand. Add some water to make the dough smooth and even. You can also mix the dough by hand.
3 Let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 min.
4 Grease the muffin form/forms and thumb in the dough. Let rest again in the fridge for 15 minutes. Thumb in a greased muffins form.

100 g raw-pickled salmon of salmon pastrami
6 cherry tomatoes baked in oven for 15 minutes with a dash of olive oil, thyme, sugar and salt
1 dl chopped chives
1 free range egg
0.5 dl full milk
salt and pepper
1 tbsp grated Parmesan

1 Mix in the egg and milk, add salt and pepper.
2 Put a half a tomato in each quiche, add some salmon and chives.
3 Pour in the milk mixture and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
4 Bake for about 20 minutes.


Smashed salmon pastrami ( the fish is first soaked in salt water, fry it quickly, turn in a mixture of peppers, coriander, cummin and anise seeds, refrigerate for a day or two)


Oven-baked tomatoes




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Winter’s Delights: Blinis and Fish Roe


February is the best time with fish roe and perfect for blinis, the Russian pancakes with buckwheat. I learnt to make them long ago at grandma’s. Today I use her pan and not the one we got as a wedding gift.

This is how I make the batter:
2.5 dl whole milk
2 tsp yeast (fresh will give a better lift to the batter)
1 dl sour cream
1.5 dl buckwheat
1 dl flour (wheat)
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk, 1 egg white

Dissolve the yeast into lukewarm milk. Add the salt, flour, sour cream and egg yolk. Let stay for 30 min. Beat the egg white and turn it in carefully. You can replace some of the liquid with mineral water if you think the blinis are too rich.
Fry in butter making smallish pancakes of 15 cm in diameter and 2 cm thick.
I fry the blinis and place them in oven before serving to keep them warm.

Serve with thick sour cream (smetana), fish roe, finely chopped onion and chives, pickled cucumber and honey.


I usually serve blinis with two types of roe: salmon roe and vendace or lavaret roe which both come from freshwater fish, corogonus albula and coregonus lavaretus.

Blinis aren’t necessary an expensive meal. Enjoy the delicacies. Prepare a blini feast for your friends and enjoy the food and company. Only once have I had blinis with caviar, a long time ago in Moscow in a very posh restaurant. Served with champagne, how else!

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Jansson’s Temptation

I find myself busy these days and natural reason is that I’m back to work. It would be ideal to plan the week’s meals ahead and do the groceries once a week. I’m trying it out this week and you can read in a week if I succeeded to make do with the shopping I did today. And the planning.
My menu planning started today and I cooked Salmon in Hot Company (see the recipe dated 17 June). Rest of the meals for the week are peas soup and buns with whipped cream and marzipan (a Finnish seasonal speciality), pork rolls filled with Parmesan and apricots and a soup of sweet potatoes. In case we don’t feel like all the soup, I have in stock ingredients for home-made gnocchi with Gorgonzola.

Now to the topic, Jansson’s Temptation. We are off partying tonight and will very likely at some point eat a popular evening meal or should I call it a late night snack. The dish is a creamy gratin of potatoes and anchovies. It is an old and traditional home-made food very 60’s. One tale tells that Janzon was a Swedish opera singer (1844-1899) who would serve beer, vodka and this gratin at his parties.

Beware, this is no diet food but really delicious as a late night meal or snack. Fabulous for the following day (i.e. after the party).

Jansson’s is one of the first dishes I learnt to make and it is still one of my favourites. I think this is the first time I’m writing down the recipe.

This is what you need for 4 portions:

10 large potatoes
1 onion
1 can of anchovies with brine
2 dl double cream
bread crumbs, butter

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 C.
2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin strips (smaller than French fries). I use my kitchen-aid for this. Rinse the potatoes in a colander and dry them with a kitchen towel (real tea towel). This way you will reduce the amount of starch.

20130209-154520.jpg3 Mince the onion and mix with the potatoes.

4. Grease an oven pan and place half of the potato mixture in it. Add the anchovies and the rest of the potato mix.
5. Mix the double cram and the anchovy brine, and pour it over the dish. Put some butter shavings on top and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

6. Bake for an hour or until golden brown. Serve with lingon berries.


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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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