Archive of ‘Finland’ category

Helsinki trip

Last week with Klaus we spent some days in Helsinki, where one of his sister lives. I’ve been in Helsinki before, other two times, but this time we had little bit more time to visit the city. So, now that I know the city little bit better, I can tell that the Finnish capital has its gems of beauty.

So here you go with some shots from our trip in Helsinki, enjoy!

Let’s start with the City Market Hall.Market Hall in Helsinki | duefiliderba • the blogSome more architecture.

Helsinki | duefiliderba • the blog

Doesn’t this building remind you of NY? ↓
New York in Helsinki | duefiliderba • the blog Click here for some more shots!

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Every man’s right in Finland

Every man's right in FinlandEvery man's right in Finland Every man's right in FinlandIn Finland there is a thing called jokamiehenoikeus or every man’s right. This right gives everyone the freedom to be in the nature undisturbed, without the need to ask permission to anyone, except for people’s yards, plantations and fields. In the nature is possible to walk, hike, bike and even sleep and make temporary camps! It’s also possible to pick berries, wild herbs, mushrooms and branches already fallen from the trees. In lakes, rivers and seas, one can freely swim and rod fish in summer time, but also in winter, when everything is frozen, it’s possible to walk, ski, skate or ice fishing in waters.

Every man's right in Finland Every man's right in FinlandEvery man's right in Finland Every man's right in FinlandYes, what you see here is frozen sea.

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Sap beer

Birch sap beer

We found a recipe that went like this:

“To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr’d together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm’d. When it is sufficiently boil’d, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work…and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . .”.

It sounded quite nice and simple. Besides, we had a lot of birch sap (in this post you can read how to extract it yourself and many other curiosities!) so we tried to make it! The first time, we followed the recipe closely but it turned out too sweet. Also, some unforeseen event happened. We used normal ale beer, and at a certain point we realized that, somehow, the fermentation process didn’t really start. Then we realized that at the time the recipe was written, the ale had normally still working yeast in it. The ale we used didn’t so that’s why we had to add little bit of dry yeast that starts to work at 42° C.

Birch sap beer Birch sap beer

So then it started to ferment. The fermentation time is 10 days. You can leave it longer if your bottles are well sealed. Anyways, after 10 days the taste has already reached its maturity.

Birch sap beer

The second time we made some changes to the original recipe. We used half of the honey the recipe said, so 1/8 gallon (1 gallon amount to 4 litres). In grams, we put 100 g Finnish forest honey in the boiling sap plus 30 g of chestnut honey per litre.

The bottles we used were half a litre per each. They have to have air tight closure because, during the fermentation, the pressure will rise and the closure will have to contain it.

Birch sap beer
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Birch sap: properties, how to extract and use it

Birch sapBirch is the Finnish national tree, because of many reasons. For instance, there are a lot of them. Also, in the traditional Finnish sauna you would use birch branches in order to flavor the room. In the past, birch bark was used in order to make baskets or even shoes.

Well, birch is also a nourishment resource. From it you can extract birch sap.

When?

During the spring time. April usually is the best month. The degrees should be around +4 so that the sap would run inside the tree and wouldn’t be not frozen, but also it’s not too warm so that it would get spoiled. The tree shouldn’t yet have leaves or even sprouts because then the tree will need all the water it’s got to make the leaves grow.

Tools:

  • Drill. Before drilling disinfect the blade first with fire and then with alcohol.
  • Plastic tube from the juice extractor or some other tube for alimentary use. Also it’s important to check that will fit perfectly to the hole you make.
  • A bottle or more than one

How

Take a healthy & powerful tree, so that a little wound wouldn’t hurt it. Even though a hole wouldn’t hurt a healthy tree, you should get a permission from the land owner to drill the tree, because for example you cannot make anymore veneer out of it.
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How to dry meat

How to dry meatHow to dry meatIn Lapland and northern Finland there is a long standing tradition of preserving meat by drying it in the dry spring air. The most traditional meat to be dried this way is naturally reindeer or moose, but you can do it very well with beef too! I used beef, (more…)

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Borscht soup

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This recipe was born in Ukraine, but this dish is largely used in Russia too. The Russian variant includes also cabbage. By now, this borscht soup is part of Finnish culture too since Finland has been under Russian domain for a century. I’m fact, only in 1917 Finland became independent. That explains why Russian culture is part of what Finnish culture is too.

Normally, when people prepare this soup, they will make it a lot because since it cooks so slow. So don’t worry if you can’t finish it all at once! You can freeze it without problems and keep it when some “emergency” strikes, for when you won’t have 3 hours to spend in the kitchen 😀 Then, all you’ll have to do will be thawing it out.

Also in this recipe, rye bread covers an essential part, if you want to enjoy this dish in the very traditional way 😉

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Talking about the flavors of this soup, they surely are unique in their genre. It’s a strong and clear flavor, but at the same time very enjoyable. Parsley doesn’t only decorate the plate and give it the right shade of color, but also complete the savor. Finally, borscht soup cannot be served without smetana, crème frâiche or, more simply called, sour cream.

Here in Finland you can easily find pickle beetroots. If you are not able to find them where you live, don’t despair! Use the beetroots that you find (peel them if fresh) and substitute the beetroot vinegar with 200 ml of apple vinegar.

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Salmon soup

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In Finland you can surely get very fresh (and cheap!) salmons. So here is one of the most common and traditional recipes in which this ingredient covers a main role. Of course, in this country salmon can be found anywhere but if you want to have it fresh, then you’ll direct yourself in market halls (Kauppahalli) or in fish markets.

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Another important ingredient in this soup are spring onions: they give a fresh taste and beautiful color to the dish :)

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For this soup we used Lapland potatoes, which have a protected origin certificate. The taste they have is intense because of the ground in which they grow: Lapland has a really rich soil. Also, these potatoes benefit from a 24 hours sun per day during summer that surely enhance their flavor. It’s not even necessary to peel them because of its tenderness. Another aspect of this special gems from the ground is that they are little bit faster to cook than “ordinary” potatoes.

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One thing you can’t miss while enjoying your soup: rye bread with butter and milk! (more…)

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Aronia pie

Speaking once more about aronia, when I finished to prepare my homemade aronia juice, I decided I would conserve the berries to which I extracted the nectar from in freezer. Then Klapsu’s granny gave me a fantastic hint: she suggested I could use them in a pie.

And here it is!

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Actually the taste was far beyond the expectations! This berries are truly versatile. In order to eliminate the tartness inborn in aronia berries, I used, again advised from Klapsu’s granny, apple jam that with its sweetness takes completely away every trace of sourness.


Preparation time: 15 min


Cooking time: 25 min


Total time: 40 min

 

Serves: 12 people


INGREDIENTS for the dough:

  • 100 gr of butter
  • 100 gr of caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200 gr of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

INGREDIENTS for the filling:

  • 300 gr of quark (here it’s called rahka, you could also substitute it with ricotta cheese)
  • 200 gr of apple jam
  • 200 gr of aronia berries
  • 1 egg

INSTRUCTIONS:  

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  • Mix all the dough ingredients together and work them till you’ll have a smooth but solid mixture. Let it rest.
  • Meanwhile mix the quark with the egg until you get a creamy texture.
  • Add the apple jam and the berries.
  • With a rolling pin, roll the dough and place it in a baking tin that you previously had buttered.
  • Pour the filling inside the dough shell and bake it for 25 minutes.

Simple, quick and delicious!

* For me it was not necessary to add sugar in the filling because the sweetness of the apple jam was enough, but if you’d like it still sweeter, you can add some 50 gr of sugar!

 

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Homemade berry juice

I vividly remember how nice it was, when I was a kid, to pick with granny and dad black cherries from the tree we used to have in the garden. Then we would take away the pits, boil the cherries with sugar, extract some juice out of them and use what was left in order to make jams.

When I picked aronia berries (I speak about them here), I started wondering how could I use them. So Klapsu suggested to extract some juice. I was almost going to write to granny to ask additional tips, when my mother-in-law started talking about a steam juicer.

And here it is!

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Well, it really seems that Finland is a step ahead my imagination. In fact, steam juicers exist even though I’ve never heard about them in Italy. On the contrary, it seems that every Finnish family own one.

How does it work? Basically a steam juicer is composed of 3 different kettles placed on the top of each other.

The first kettle, the most normal one, wide and quite low, is supposed to be filled with water.

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The second one has in its bottom center an upward perforated cone. From this hole, the vapor caused by the boiling water (situated in the kettle below) reaches the fruits (in the kettle above). As a result, the fruits start to warm, release their juice that goes in the external ring of the kettle and that will be drawn off by a rubber tube equipped with a clamp lock.

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The third kettle is basically a colander. In it the fruits are put.

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A juice steamer has to have a cover that shouldn’t be touched if not necessary so that the heat wouldn’t dissipate.

So, when you fill the first kettle with water, you place on the top of it the second kettle and the third and when you fill the third kettle with fruits or berries, you don’t have to do anything else but wait!

We also would bring close to the stove a chair and place there a second kettle where the juice would be gathered.

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Another way to gather the juice is to directly put it on sterilized bottles.

If you’d like a sweeter juice, you just have to add some sugar either in the kettle with the fruits or in the kettle where the juice will be gathered.

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A juice steamer needs at least 2 hours in order to extract all the juice from the fruits/berries.

Talking about quantities, it varies depending on the fruit. With aronia berries, for 2,3 kg of berries I could extract little bit more than 2 and a half liters of juice, included the half a kilo of sugar I added to sweeten the flavor.


Remember that the juice you’ll obtain is a concentrate, so you’ll have to dilute it with 4/5 parts of water.


Of course, you can extract juice from whichever fruit you want.


When it will be cooled down, you can keep it in refrigerator or, if you are not planning to use it very soon, you can even freeze it and then thaw it out half an hour before you drink it! :)

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Aronia berries

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The perfect time to pick aronia berries in Finland is during fall, from October to early November.

Its bushes can be up to two meters high. The outlook of this berry is similar to blueberry, but the taste is more bitter and astringent. I picked those berries within two days. During the first days, they looked like this.

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During the night, temperature dropped down below zero and the berries freezed.

Even thought they were very beautiful, it’s wasn’t that nice to pick them because it has to be done without gloves since you need to be very careful in order not to damage the bush.

Tip: if you don’t want to get your hands frozen, keep a glove in the hand you are not using to pick the berries and alternate them. In this way, your endurance will be longer 😀

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My mouth could well recognize the difference between the berries picked in the two different days. The night spent below zero release partly the rough and sour flavor.

Surely it is worth overcoming little sourness if you think how healthy those berries are: rich of antioxidant and other nourishment that are able to fight against free radicals found in our body. Besides, they have a high quantity of vitamins C, A and E.

How can they be used?

A common way to use them among Finns is simply freezing them immediately after the picking. Just as they are, without even washing them (this is because they are picked in places with zero or almost traffic and consequently pollution). In this way you’ll always have them ready when you’ll want to make a smoothie or for the Finnish traditional puuro, or porridge.

Another way is to make juices out of them.

Or, combined with red currant, you can make a delicious jam :)

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