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.Some more architecture.
Doesn’t this building remind you of NY? ↓
Click here for some more shots!
In 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.
Yes, what you see here is frozen sea.
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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.
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.
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.
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Birch 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.
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.
- 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
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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After the asparagus appetizers, here comes another recipe that sees asparagus, vegetable of season now, as the main ingredient.
The 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
Go to the recipe
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It’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!
So, 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.
Following 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!
In 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…)