Archive of ‘Food&Recipes’ category

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.

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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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Asparagus velvet soup

After the asparagus appetizers, here comes another recipe that sees asparagus, vegetable of season now, as the main ingredient.

Asparagus leek soup Asparagus leek soupThe color of my velvet soup has some brown in it because I wanted to keep potatoes unpeeled. As you already know, I love Lapland potatoes. Their peel is full of nutrients and very soft. They are sold uncleaned so that they could last longer. In case finding Lapland potatoes seems hard in the area you live (and that could be very probable, I guess), then don’t you worry, just use the “normal” potatoes you’ll find. If you’ll peel them, then the color of your soup will be more intense and lighter than mine :)

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Asparagus smoked salmon appetizers

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Asparagus smoked salmon appetizers Asparagus smoked salmon appetizersIt’s asparagus time! I am personally in love with this vegetable. I find its taste very delicate, but at the same time unique. It’s very versatile and can be used in endless ways! And, on top of that, it’s esthetically very beautiful!

DSC_0076So, as usual, also this time I was thinking about a new recipe. I knew I wanted a fresh and light flavor. In the end, I chose to create an appetizer. Main ingredients of this recipe are asparagus, of course, basil, that gives a vernal feeling to the dish and smoked salmon, that I find perfect together with asparagus.

Asparagus smoked salmon apetizersFollowing this recipe on GialloZafferano, I prepared for the first time in my life crackers and I have to say that the result was quite satisfying both for me and Klaus!

Asparagus smoked salmon apetizersAsparagus smoked salmon apetizers

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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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Raspberry double chocolate layer cake

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So, the reason why I created this cake was a party, of course. You have to know that, since the beginning of December 2014, I started a Finnish language and culture course at Oulun Aikuiskoulutuskeskus. I happened to be in a marvelous class with marvelous classmates and teachers. So, the thing was that the first module (this course is divided in three modules) is going to end very soon and our Finnish language teacher is going to change. Hence, we decided as a class to make a yllätys juhla, a surprise party for her. Everyone would bring something; I was the one who was going to bake the cake.

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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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Orange chocolate truffles

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This truffles are inspired to a Brazilian recipe called brigadeiro, that my maternal granny is able to master.

What’s nice about this little delicacies is that they are super easy to make and can be personalized in endless ways: adding a nutty heart, substituting the cocoa powder with smashed pistachios or coconut flakes. Really, just let your imagination lead you!

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Cooking time: 20 min


Cooling time: 3 h


Preparation time: 20 min

 

For 40 truffles


INGREDIENTS:rsz_dsc_0227

  • One can of condensed milk
  • 150 g of dark chocolate
  • 50 g of butter
  • Grated orange peel
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Melt with low heat the condensed milk, the chocolate and the butter
  • When everything will be melted, add the orange peel
  • Cook still for 15 minutes
  • Let the mixture cool down in refrigerator for at least 3 hours
  • When it will be thickened, take little portion of the truffles and work them with your hands (you can butter them so that the process would be easier) till you’ll obtain little balls
  • Put the truffles in a bowl where you had previously put cocoa powder
  • Rolls the chocolate balls in the cocoa till full coverage

 

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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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