Tag Archives: lamb

#33 Lamb in a Pot

imageFound this wonderful packet of assorted lamb cuts t the local grocery store on Friday. I had been trying to decide what to cook and was lacking inspiration. This packet solved it all …and I knew I would have the time to make this slow cooked pot on Saturday.

For a meal for six you will need: 

1 kilo of lamb cuts, 2 tbsp butter, a twig of rosemary, a handful of thyme, 0ne onion, two carrots, one parsnip and 3 cloves of garlic, 2 dl red wine, 1.5 dl water, 0.5 dl espresso

Chop the meat into large chunks. Peel and chop the vegetables. Melt the butter in a pan, add half of the herbs and the garlic. Brown the meat and place in a pot. Sauté the vegetables in the butter and pour them over the lamb. Add the wine and water on the frying pan, let come to boil and pour into the pot.

Cook in 160 C for three hours, half the time with the lock and half without.

Serve with roasted vegetables – butternut squash, carrot, parsnip and potato.


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Easter Lunch

It has been a wonderful day. The small house full of people and laughter. We had  some of the family over for a long lunch. I lost myself in the entertaining and hence so very few pictures.

The lamb we had gotten from a local farmer was delish. I marinated the it for  12 hrs in rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and a cup of espresso, and cooked it slowly in 150 C until  57 C. The beluga lentils, roasted tomato and salsa verde melted in the mouth. The cheesecake my sis-in-law brought was the best ever.

I had planned with orange-ginger juice with roasted nuts, orange marinated olives and hazelnut salami as appetizers. Turned out well too.


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Modern Italian Wines at Haikko Manor

I had the pleasure of participating in a wine dinner arranged at Haikko Manor on Friday. Haikko Manor is the first manor hotel in Finland opened in 1966. Haikko’s wine dinners are today a tradition and the evenings comprise of a four course meal combined with excellent wines.  A different winery is presented and present each time, and their representative tells about their wine.  This time the topic was modern Italian wines of Tenuta Ulisse winery in Chieti, Abruzzo. Their representative, Marco, told about the wines grown in 600 meters above the sea level and higher. They have their grapes growing on the slopes of Maiella mountain, between the mountain and the Adriatic coast.

The wine dinners offer an excellent opportunity to learn about wineries and their selection as there is always a representative present telling about the wines tasted. The Manor offers a splendid setting for the dinners, and for any other type of events. We gathered in the historical Romanov dining room named after the Romanov family. Members of the family were frequent quests at Haikko in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Haikko Wine Dinner Romanov

The chefs and restaurant staff plan the dinners around the wines. Yes, rather unusual to start with the wines not the meals.  The objective is to offer something unique for the palate – both in wines, foods and combinations of the two.

The menu was traditional and modern, a mixture of Finnish and Italian. The antipasti plate comprised of a delicious, fresh terrine of tomato and basil topped with buffalo mozzarella, a cake of pork cheek, marinated artichokes and smoked roach.


The fragrant Unico Pecorino surprised me and was an excellent match with the smoked fish and the pork. The lighter wine, Chardonnay-Malvasia, suited better with the terrine in my opinion.

What was even better with the dinner was that the wine expert talked about wines and different tastes stating several times that one cannot argue about taste. This encouraged us to talk about the food and wine at the tables. We were about one hundred there, seated in long tables of ten. Surprisingly soon there was a happy ripple of conversation in the large dining room. Later on it would be spiced with applause and laughter.

The primo was Vitello Tonnato –  veal, pureed sauce of tuna fish and roasted capers. Delicious and different, not exactly same as the dish prepared by Italians.

vitello tonato

The chef was there to tell about the meal, the planning and tasting, the preparation and also mingled in the room telling more and answering questions. Likewise Marco would tell about the wines and discuss in the different tables.

The main course was fillet of lamb with vegetable  and sauce of red wine. Tender tasty lamb matching the Unico Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and also the Sogno di Ulisse Rosso.


Haikon Manor Wine Dinner

The dessert was definitely the highlight, both the wine Amaranta Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2012. A balanced body with tannins, long and fruity mouth.  Yes, this was the dessert wine! The dessert was also rather unusual, Gorgonzola ice cream! Many of us had never tasted anything like that – the slightly salty Gorgonzola united with creamy Mascarpone accompanied by apricot, fig and pecans.

Haikon Manor Wine Dinner

This is certainly an evening I treasure. Excellent food and wine, good company and lively conversation. Some of the guests were local some from Helsinki, our capital. I learnt not only about the wine and food but also of Italian traditions – weddings and wedding dinners for example.

You can learn more about Haikko Manor and Tenuta Ulisse at their home pages.
The next wine dinner at Haikko is held on 8 May and it is on sparkling wines.



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Rack of Lamb with Salsa Verde and Beluga Lentils

This is year I decided to try something new for Easter and tried the recipe in advance. Until now I’d never tried to cook a rack of lamb but many other parts of the lamb e.g. lamb shanks, leg of lamb and lamb steak. Chopping the rack into chops might not be the right way to cook it but I followed the recipe, one in the recent issue of Elle mat & vin. As usual I changed some of the recipe: halved the lentil recipe, put anchovy instead of sardines in the salsa.

These recipes are for two

Salsa Verde
a large handful basil, mint and parsley (a handful each)
4 anchovy fillets, 1 clove of garlic, 3 tbsp capers, 1.5 dl olive oil

Mix the ingredients in a kitchen-aid or a blender. Refrigerate for a day to allow the taste to deepen. This what you need: a large handful of each herb : Basil, peppermint and parsley; 4 anchovy fillets, 1 clove of garlic,
3 tbsp capers, 1.5 dl olive oil


Beluga Lentils
1.5 dl Beluga lentils
1 garlic clove, 1 tomato, a cube of beef stock, a twig of rosemary, 4 tbsp olive oil

Cook the lentils with all the ingredients and 4 dl water for 20 minutes or until done. Add 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or crema di balsamico just before serving.

Rack of lamb

800 lamb racks, cut into chops
olive oil, 1 lemon, salt and black pepper

Slice the lemon and put on a hot pan with olive oil. Cook the chops in olive oil 2-3 minutes both sides. This leaves the meat pink and tender. Do this once you have everything else ready. Place the chops on a serving plate with the cooked lemon and decorate mint leaves. Serve with salsa verde and beluga lentils.




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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.

20140309-200349.jpg 20140309-200355.jpg

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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Filed under Lunch, Restaurants

Spring Dinner with Lamb, Primeurs and Rhubarb

Good Sunday evening to you all. We’re close to calling it a day, a wonderful day it has been.
Cooked a meal of minced lamb and seasonal greens and vegetables. The greens were directly from our garden, and weeds actually. How to use weeds and wild herbs in cooking was a topic in both our national papers this weekend. Hence the inspiration.

The rhubarb crumble I baked for dessert was inspired by one of my favourite Swedish cooks, Tina Nordström. I combined her rhubarb vanilla concoct with crumble dough. And voila, a delicious dessert!



500 g minced lamb
1 egg, 3 slices of white bread, 1 dl milk
Salt, pepper, herbs
1/2 chopped onion, 1 dl pitted and chopped black olives

Beat the milk and eggs. Cut the crust of the bread slices and soak the bread in the milk-egg mixture. Add the onion and olives. Mix in the meat by hands and add salt, pepper and herbs (thyme, rosemary, chives).
Roll into small balls and fry ’till golden brown. Remove from the pan and place in an oven pan. Bake in 175 C for 15-20 minutes. Prepare the vegetables while the meatballs are cooking.

Vegetables, primeurs
10 small, fresh potatoes, cooked al dente
3 carrots
Mixed garden greens – in this case dandelion, nettle, ground elder.

Chop the carrots julienne and fry in a tiny dash of olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and the chopped greens. Salt and add some pepper I’f needed.

Rhubarb crumble
8 rhubarb sticks
3 dl water, 2 dl white wine, juice of one lemon, zest of one lemon, one pod of vanilla, 1 dl caster sugar

100 g butter, 2 dl oat meal, 2 dl all purpose flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 dl muscovado sugar, 1-2 tbsp water
Chop the rhubarb into thin slices and set aside.
Put all the ingredients into a pan and cook for five minutes.
Pour the hot liquid over the rhubarb and let it cool.

Mix the crumble dough. Mix all the ingredients, use cold butter.
Grease a pie dish. Sieve the rhubarb and place in the dish. Add the dough evenly on top of the rhubarb. Bake in 200 C for 25-30 minutes.

Serve with soft, half melted vanilla ice cream. The taste is lovely. Almost crisp rhubarb and caramelised sugar.
Try the rhubarb, Tina’s recipe! Keep the juice and enjoy it as such or in a smoothie. You can read about Tina and her recipes at http://www.newscancook.com.




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All Saints’ Day: Pumpkin Soup and Lamb Shanks

This is my suggestion for All Saints’ Day or Halloween dinner. I know that the Americans and many Europeans have already had their Halloween. Here in Finland it is tomorrow on November 2nd this year and the eve of All Saints’ Day. I test cooked my dinner already last weekend. I had never cooked this type of lamb and it had been ages since I made pumpkin soup. It all turned very delicious.

I adapted the soup recipe from the September – October ELLE mat och vin (added more pumpkin) and Sikke Sumari’s recipe for lamb shanks from Gloria some years ago (the recipe is almost as Sikke’s, a famous Finnish TV cook, cook book author, restaurateur and cook competition judge (Finnish master chef).

Pumpkin soup (6 portions as starters, 4 as lunch)

1 kg of pumpkin, peeled and diced
half a litre of chicken stock
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 dl double cream
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

1 Peel and dice the pumpkin. Boil the water and mix in chicken stock fond or bouillon cube.
2 Cook until the pumpkin is soft. Mix with kitchen aid until smooth.
3 Make a cream sauce while the pumpkin is cooking. Melt the butter, mix in the corn starch and pour in the cream little by little.
Let the sauce come to boil turning it all the time. The sauce is ready once it thickens. Season with salt and pepper and set away from the stove.
4 Mix the cream sauce into the pumpkin soup by hand. Warm up and serve.
This is a delicious but quite a heavy soup. Serve small portions as starters.
I served the soup with slices of rye bread with sautéed funnel chanterelles.

Lamb Shanks (for three)
3 lamb shanks
1 carrot
1 leek
2 cloves of garlic
0,5 l beef stock
0,5 red wine
Handful of thyme, rosemary and oregano
Salt and black pepper

1 Brown the lamb in butter. Put them into an oven pot.
2 Peel and slice the vegetables. Clean the leek carefully unless you want sand in your teeth.
3 Saute the leek, carrot and garlic in the pan. Add the herbs, beef stock and wine. Let come to boil and pour over the lamb.
4 Cook in the oven and cook for three hours in 175 C. Turn the les every now and then.
Serve with potato mash.

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