Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vermont Apple Pie

My new cook book mentioned this treat as a Thanksgiving dish so to honor that American holiday I made this exactly a week ago on Thanksgiving Thursday night. And yum! This is good! This has a little bit of the fall with the apples, a little bit of Christmas with the gingerbread, little bit of both with cinnamon. So the pie felt very fitting at this time of year, because Thanksgiving is a holiday that is somewhere halfway between fall and Christmas. My taste buds enjoyed this pie even better after it had cooled down and, apparently, so did my hubby's. This seemed to taste better by the day. My first experience with the new cook book was definitely a good one, and it wouldn't be impossible, if I made this a second time before baking anything else from the book!

I give the recipe in European measurements as that's how it was given in the book as well. I trust this recipe is a familiar one to American readers already. Also, the recipe uses a pie crust recipe from the same book. That recipe will follow the actual Vermont Apple Pie recipe. I cut down the amount of apples as it seemed to be so much (the apples were big and my mold wasn't huge). I give my changes in brackets. For this pie mold I'd also cut down the pie crust next time as well. I'm not sure, if cutting it to half would be too much. I intend to make this again and when I do, I'll try making it with less pie crust and afterwards can give my comments regarding this question. 

Vermont Apple Pie

1 unbaked pie crust (for that recipe scroll down)
8-10 apples (5)
1 dl sugar
1½ dl crushed gingerbread cookies
1 T flour
½ tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 dl crushed walnuts (I used a nut mix)
50 g melted butter
3/4 dl maple syrup

Turn on the oven to 175 C. Peel the apples and core them. Cut them into slices and place half of them on top of the pie crust. Mix sugar, crushed gingerbread cookies, flour, cinnamon, salt, walnuts and butter well together in a bowl. Spread half of the mix on top of the apples. Place the remaining apples on top and sprinkle the rest of the mix on top of them. Bake for 50 minutes. Heat the maple syrup until it almost boils. Pour over the apples. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Pie Crust

½ dl orange juice
1 egg
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
5 dl flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar
200 g butter

Mix the orange juice, egg, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Mix the flour and vanilla sugar in a big bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and put in with the flour. Use a knife to cut the butter to smaller and smaller pieces until it has blended in with the flour. Add the orange juice mixture and mix until the whole thing is mouldable. Cover with a kitchen film and keep in cool for at least four hours.

I have to admit something. I noticed the "cool for 4 hours" when I was didn't have time to cool for 4 hours, so my pie crust stayed in the fridge for max 30 minutes. Then I just pressed it on to my pie mold. The rest of the recipe (which I'm not posting now, as this pie only needed unbaked pie crust) would have showed that this pie crust makes both the bottom and the top of a pie and that is one reason why I thought it might be good to have a little less of it in this pie, because it only needs the bottom and in my opinion it doesn't have to be as thick as it now was. 

Anyway, I loved this pie and I'm really glad that even with the occasional exhaustion my new job is giving me, I managed to bake something for Thanksgiving. The weekend is going to be a busy one with not a lot of time staying at home, but next week I'm hoping I'll manage to get some Christmas baking done too.l

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

American Sweets

On my third day at my new job, a book representative was visiting at the school's teachers' lounge. He had with him all kinds of books, mainly story books though. There was one box that included books related to arts and crafts, holidays and - food. I browsed through a Christmas related book from the box, before this particular cook book caught my eye. After flipping through its pages a while, I was pretty convinced that this is the book for me! It is not a surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly that I like American food and pastries and as the price was right too (I purchased this for 14 €) I didn't need long to decide. Besides, I told myself that as an English teacher, who is supposed to introduce the target culture as well as the language, this book is practically a must to keep up my professionalism! ;)

The book is written by Jill Parker and Joyce Parker, a mother and daughter and the photography is by Patrik Giardino, Jill's husband. The content is divided under seven sub-categories: 1) Cookies & Bars, 2) Muffins & more 3) Coffee cakes, 4) Cakes & Cheesecakes, 5) Pies & more, 6) Candy and 7) Kids, Sweets. The recipes have been adapted to the Scandinavian cooking and are in Finnish.

There are great many recipes I look forward to trying out, the Chocolate Fudge Triple Layer Cake of the cover not being the last on my list. Hopefully I'll have time very soon to try out the first ones from this book and share with you my experiences with it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seasoned tea

This picture has been waiting to be published for great many weeks. I have been busier than in a long time these past couple of weeks. October 25th I was in a job interview and only a couple of hours after leaving the school, the head called me saying that I got the job. This triggered a snowball effect. The town where I started work this Monday was so far from where I have lived the past five years that it wasn't possible to work from there. I had to start apartment hunting with my hubby. Over three weeks after that phone call, I am now posting this from our new home. (I even have a bigger kitchen now!) I made this warm drink just a day or two before that interview and having a mile long "to do" list and checking them off one by one throughout the weeks, publishing this finally is the next thing to cross off from my list. (I'm glad I'm back blogwise as well to something I consider normal life, although starting my very first job after graduation still takes some adjusting and I might not be able to post as often as I'd like.)

I spotted this recipe from the website of the magazine I'm subscribing, Kotivinkki. This was named tea glögg at their site. Glögg is a Nordic equivalent to mulled wine, at least that's what Wikipedia says about it. I prefer my glögg without alcohol and that is the kind that is typically sold in Finnish grocery stores too. The most usual base for non-alcoholic glögg is grape juice, although I've seen varieties with other juices too. This recipe, then again, uses tea as the base. This isn't really glögg in the real sense of it, at least to me, a glögg lover, but I did really like this drink as well. The words that in my opinion best describe this drink is liquid gingerbread. A cup of this warms you up nicely after a cold day. It's easy too, first of all, easy to make, and moreover, you only have to make it once and after that just boil some water to enjoy it...

... because, this recipe makes a concentrate. I made it according to the original recipe, but the amount has lasted more than four servings to me. I probably drink it a little blander than meant? It's been strong enough for me. The concentrate I bottled up and keep it in the fridge: still some left!

I didn't left my concentrate to acquire taste overnight, a couple of hours seemed to do the trick. The cinnamon stick is in the glass for photogenic reasons. But remember, they are re-usable!

Seasoned tea or Tea glögg or Liquid gingerbread

500 ml / generous 2 cups water
4 bags of black tea, e.g. English Breakfast (I used vanilla seasoned black tea)
1 cinnamon stick
I tsp cloves
2 T honey

Bring the water to boil and put the teabags and spices in. Take out the teabags after 5 minutes. Let the liquid acquire taste for a couple of hours or over night. Add the honey. Bland the drink with hot water to taste.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple oatmeal crumble

I love that I live in a country where all four seasons show. I know that the Finnish winter is long by some standards and more prominent than some of the other seasons, but we still get all four of them, no doubt about that. It seems to me that mostly when one season is drawing to an end, I am ready for the next one to roll in. Having four seasons gives the year, and life in general, more of a rhythm and pace. During these last 12 months, I've loved our seasons more than maybe ever before.

Last winter was at times very, very cold and snowier than I can remember for a very long time. When you're wearing enough, the coldness isn't a problem. Besides, you can always go inside, where it's warm, and in Finland it really is warm inside, because the houses are properly insulated and keep the cold out even when it's absolutely freezing outside. And I adored the luxury of having a lot of snow. The summer again war a lot warmer than a typical Finnish summer. I loved the warm weather, but by the end of August, I definitely was ready to welcome fall.

I love fall. True enough that I love all seasons, but I do love fall. I love it when the weather gets crisp and it's easy to breath. I love the bright wonderful colors that maple trees and aspens flaunt with. And when the leaves drop down to the ground and make a rustling sound when you walk through them. Later they might get a silver lining from the morning frost. I'm a visual person and can just stop on my way to look at something I think is beautiful. I love the colors of autumn. To me, apples seem to mirror  all those colors and things I love about fall. So that's why, fall is the perfect time to make apple oatmeal crumble.

I couldn't believe myself, when I realized I haven't posted this recipe! This, my absolute favorite fall dessert! A recipe that I have, in my opinion, pruned into perfection by making it all over again, with little tweaks and modifications. It certainly is time to share it now! This is the ultimate comfort food for me.

Apple oatmeal crumble

1 BIG apple or a couple of smaller ones
2 tbl brown sugar
about 100 g / 1 stick (½ cup) butter
1 dl /  ½ cup sugar
2 tsp powdered cinnamon
3 dl  / a full cup oatmeal

Butter the dish. Peel the apple(s) and slice them and then put them in the dish. Crumble the brown sugar on top of the apple slices. Prepare the tosca crumble by melting the butter and sugar on a saucepan. Mix in the cinnamon and then the oatmeal. Mix together and add on top of the apples. Bake in 200 C / 390 F for about 20 min. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy preferably wearing comfortable clothes and watching your favorite show on television. Best when warm, but works well warmed up in the microwave oven the next day, assuming there's some left.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Fake" rye bread

Rye bread - A Finnish thing

I'm a subscriber (and I always struggle with spelling that word!) of a Finnish magazine Kotivinkki that also publishes recipes of really good-looking and tempting dishes. For some reason, however, I have not really tried out the recipes before. Maybe it's because I don't want to get my precious magazine all covered with flour and stains that I usually can't escape when cooking or baking from a cook book or some written recipe. I don't know. Anyway, this month's issue was dropped down to our mailbox and the theme of this month's recipes in the food section was something that finally made me use the magazine as my guideline in the kitchen. Bread.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweet potato soup

Oh. My. Word. 

This was THE fall dish for me. My new go-to comfort food to rescue me from the dreary rains of the season that I know are just around the corner. Trying to scare and depress me. But I'm not afraid. Because I have this recipe up my sleeve. And candles. (And the occasional bite of something chocolaty, which I'm not going to say out loud, because my new healthy diet, where by the way this dish falls into.)

This soups was as simple as it gets. It didn't take too much time either. So ideal for fall. Even the color's right and reminds me of maple trees that can get so bright orange that they're like torches burning bright even when it rains. This soup made me feel satisfied and comforted and hopefully you will have the same feeling. On the side I served some rolls I made the day before. The dough was from my go-to bread recipe, with the exception of improvising with seeds and flours.

Sweet potato soup

approx. 1 kilo / 2.2 pounds sweet potato
1 liter / 4 1/5 cup water
two vegetable stock cubes
freshly ground pepper to your taste

Peel the sweet potato(es) and cut them into rough cubes. Put them in the pot and add the water. When the water is boiling add the stock cubes and the pepper. Let cook until the sweet potato is soft and done. Puree the soup. Done. ENJOY!

I told you it was simple :)

The Simplest Sweet Potato Soup on FoodistaThe Simplest Sweet Potato Soup

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Texas Sheet Cake

Continuing with the American dishes. A couple of weeks ago my hubby had his birthday and for that I decided to try this recipe I got from a dear friend in the States. I could not miss out on an opportunity to make this cake as it contained both chocolate and cinnamon together (both of which I adore!)  and I was pretty sure that the buttermilk would do only good things for this cake.

I was not disappointed. This cake was delicious! Wonderful! The frosting could've been a bit firmer but I was pretty sure it stayed so runny because I didn't get the American measurement of it, or maybe I should have let it set a little while longer. Which I was not able to do because this cake smelled so divine! It also could be that it's supposed to be fairly runny? I don't know. Anyway, it did not bother me one bit and I'm sure to make this cake again some time. Which unfortunately won't be very soon, as I've decided to buck up and take a closer look at what I eat and exercise more. The summer really messed up my eating routines... My only chance is to make it and take it - not being the only one eating it besides my husband - and hopefully there will an opportunity like that in the near future.

I'll give you the recipe as I was given it plus giving the Celsius grades. With the amount of powdered sugar I'd just add it as you go until you think the consistency is right.

Chocolate Sheet Cake or Texas Sheet Cake

1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 c. granulated sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1/3 c. vegetable oil
4 tbl. cocoa powder
1 c. water

Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C degrees. In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine sugar and flour. Bring butter, oil, cocoa, and water to a boil on the stove. Pour over flour mixture and mix well. Add chocolate mixture to the buttermilk/egg mixture. Pour into a greased sheet pan or jelly roll pan and bake for 25 minutes. Frost while warm.

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 c. butter
6 T. milk
3 T. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 bag powdered sugar

On the stovetop, combine butter, milk, cocoa, and salt until the butter is melted. Do not boil. Pour into a large bowl and add powdered sugar, until it is to the desired consistency. Should be spreadable. Frost the yummy warm cake, and don't forget to lick the beaters. Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

America's Most Wanted Recipes

In the previous post I mentioned the trip to the States. This book is from that trip, a gift. (Thank you!) Its purpose is to offer copycat versions of the dishes that are popular in the restaurants of the United States. Eating in is a lot cheaper than eating out and with this book you can create your favorite restaurant dishes and enjoy them in the comfort of your own home. For me this book is wonderful also because I couldn't go out into a restaurant to eat these dishes even if I wanted to! Not all the restaurants mentioned in the book are familiar to me, so I'm probably going to do some online research about the places to get an idea what kind of restaurants they are and what kind of food they usually serve, before starting to cook from this book.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

Now I actually have a good reason for the pause in blogging: vacation. For the whole of July we were almost everywhere but home and I have not baked or cooked a lot. Besides, the weather has been so hot and humid (and unlike Finland) that even the thought of a hot oven has convinced me to stay put near the fan and not to heat up the already too warm an apartment even more. But now we are back in the normal course of life and it's even a little bit cooler (although not a lot) and we hosted a meeting for our Bible Study group last night so I decided to bake something, and deal with the consequences of a hot oven.

During our vacation, my husband and I together with his parents spend two weeks in the State of Washington, USA to visit some newly found family of my father-in-law. Therefore, I found it only proper that the first recipe I blog after that trip is something typically American. I took this recipe from a cook book that I got for last Christmas called Maailman ihanimmat leivonnaiset (The world's most wonderful pastries). It is a Finnish cook book put together by a couple of journalists from the Finnish food magazine Maku (Taste). This was the first recipe which I tried from the book, although the wonderful pictures have drawn me to browse it through a number of times before. As this recipe is probably known to my readers across the Atlantic, I will give the recipe as it is in the book i.e. in metric measurements.

I really loved the combination of the little sour lemon pudding and the sweet fluffiness of the meringue. This is the first time I did this pie myself and I'm sure it's not the last. This was fairly easy and quick too, and not difficult to make it gluten-free, if you just use gluten-free flour.

Lemon Meringue Pie

about 10 pieces

100 g butter
3 dl flour
2 tbs sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbs water

1½ dl sugar
2 dl water
1 dl lemon juice
2½ tbs corn starch
4 egg yolks
50 g butter
1 tbs vanilla sugar

4 egg whites
1½ dl sugar

Line the springform pan (about 24 cm in diameter) with a baking parchment. Grease and flour the pan.
Make the crust. Mix the dry ingredients with the room-temperatured butter. Then add the water and squeeze the dough to an even texture. Press the crust on the bottom and on the sides of the pan. Put the pan in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200 C. Put another piece of parchment of top of the dough in the pan and pour about 3 dl of dry peas, beans or rice. Press the parchment a little bit so that it stays on properly.
Bake it with the weight for 15 minutes on the lowest rack of the oven. Then take the weight off and bake for another 5 minutes.

When the pie crust is in the oven, make the filling. Measure all the ingredients except the butter and the vanilla sugar into a saucepan. Whisk continuously while the mix heats up until it thickens and starts to boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the butter and vanilla sugar while whisking.

Whisk the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until it is properly foamy. Add the sugar little by little. Continue to whisk until the foam is hard and glossy.

Pour the lemon filling on top of the pie crust and even. Spoon the meringue on top and make little waves in it. Bake the pie for another 10 minutes until the meringue is golden.

The pie is at its best just after cooling down.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Foodie Blogroll and a Contest Win

I recently applied to be a part of the Foodie Blogroll. Some of you may have noticed that I now have a red widget on my side panel: that is a sign of me being a member of that online community of food bloggers. I'm still getting to know the site and familiarizing myself with the content of it as well as all the wonderful food blogs it contains. Some features I have already noticed, one of these being contests. Most of them are for citizens of United States and/or Canada, but some don't have country restrictions. I took part in a contest and actually won something after being a member for only a couple of days! My prize was a eBook called Healthy Snacks to Go by Katie Kimball.

I haven't had the time to thoroughly go through this book, but I glanced at the recipes and they definitely seemed like something that I could and would like to try out. My husband and I usually only eat one warm meal a day and both our lunches usually consist of granola bars, fruits, sometimes from porridge or berry soup etc. We both try to eat light and healthy and eat our dinner around 5 or 6 pm and therefore we are content for the rest of the evening. These kinds of recipes could bring nice change to our usual lunching routines, so I'm definitely going to take a closer look at the recipes. In order to give you an idea what kind of snacks Katie Kimball is talking about, here's the table of contents for the book. The book is on sale and you can buy it online.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I use Google Reader a lot. I mean - a lot. Two years ago, just before I started my own blog, I found the amazing supply of food blogs out there. I originally meant to find one foreign one and one Finnish one that I would visit actively and the other ones I liked would be visit more randomly. Guess how long that decision lasted? I don't think even a month, especially after I discovered the usefulness of Google Reader. It was very easy for me as a Gmail user to also start using Reader, and that on the other hand allowed me to follow a larger amount of blogs. Nowadays I have at least a couple of dozen food blogs in my Reader and I check it on a daily basis and usually notice pretty quickly when my favorite bloggers have posted something new. I also use the Share, Star or Like features that Reader offers and by using them, expand my list of "want to try" recipes. That way, whenever I feel like trying something new, I can just click at my shared or starred items and browse through them seeing what inspires me the most at that given time. This recipe has been on the list ever since I saw it in Joy The Baker in the end of April. A week ago I got a sudden inspiration to make these. An added bonus was that I could use my new measuring cup set and didn't have to try to convert the measurements into metric ones.

These turned out oh, so well... Luckily I decided to make the whole batch and not halve it, which was something I also considered. No, I didn't eat them all at once, although it wouldn't have been anything out of the ordinary, instead I offered some to friends that came over, saved a couple for the next day and from the rest I made a couple of stashes in the freezer, so I'll have the pleasure of enjoying them later too and not gain ALL the weight at once.

What I most loved about these was the texture. They were big, crisp on the outside and just soft enough from the inside. This is exactly how I like my cookies. I yet have to achieve the same texture in ordinary chocolate chip cookies, but with these I really hit the mark and next time I'm making the normal chocolate chip cookies, I'll make them as big as these and see what becomes of them then. Until then, I at least have a full-proof oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I was in a bit of a hurry while making them, however, as well as live in Finland instead of the States and not the mention feeling a little bit creative, so I made some moderations to the recipe in regard to for example ingredients. I will give the recipe as I made it. As I can't buy chocolate chips ready like is the case in US, I've developed a habit of buying a chocolate bar (about 200 g) and funneling my sometimes occurring frustration of not being able to buy chocolate chips into smashing that chocolate bar into pieces and using them instead of the ready chips. Works quite nicely. This time I bought a new-comer in the chocolate genre, Marabou Polka, which is Kraft's basic milk chocolate with pieces of Polkagris, i.e. mint candy, in other words candy canes, only not in cane form. I think the mint gave a nice addition to the cookies and to the sweetness of Marabou's milk chocolate, which is sweeter than Fazer's, my favorite brand.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Joy the Baker which again adapted from Southern Living

with the size of the dollops I made, makes a bit more than 2 dozen cookies

ca. 1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups uncooked oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

200 g milk chocolate bar with mint caramel pieces (Marabou Polka)

ca. 1 cup orange juice

Before starting to bake, chill the chocolate in the freezer and break into about chocolate chip sized pieces.

Mix the sugars and oil and add the eggs, beating well. Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to the oil and egg mixture slowly beating on low speed until just incorporated. Add the orange juice until the texture of the batter seems right. Stir in the chocolate chips. Make big dollops of the batter (I used an ice cream scoop).

Bake at 350 degrees F / 175 C (I forgot to check what 350 F is in Celsius and took a wild guess and baked them in 200 C) for 10 to 13 minutes or until they’ve reached your desired doneness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bread with cute figures

Last Sunday we visited the newly opened IKEA Tampere (website only in Finnish). Being thoroughly exhausted from the Christian youth event called Karkkugospel that had been organized the previous day and us being there from dawn til dusk, we didn't make any big purchases, but one thing (and actually the only thing) we bought (cost only 3.95 €) were these immensely cute cookie cutters that I have been wanting to try our ever since getting hold of them.

Today then, I made up an excuse to use them for something. Because I've developed a sudden urge to get more fit (although that sadly hasn't yet forced me to exercise a great deal) and thus to pay attention to what I eat and especially the health factor of food, I ruled out the possibility of actually making cookies with these cookie cutters. I thought about cutting cute animal figures out of watermelon slices (which I might just still do later on, I thought it as a fun idea) but as I forgot to jot "fruits" down to my husband's list of grocery shopping yesterday and hence being without them at home and getting more and more anxious to do SOMEthing with these wonderful shapes, I googled a recipe for the kind of bread that is thin and fills the whole of the baking sheet (if anyone knows the real name for this kind of bread, please educate me!) and decorate it with the outlines of different animals. (Wow, wasn't that a long sentence!) And here it is, straight from the oven!

And here it is, about 3 minutes later!

I wouldn't have believed that the recipe searched for so quickly and without much of an effort could produce such a delicious outcome! The crust was crisp and the bread tasted and felt like it had a lot of yummy roughage. The texture was perfect and even though the bread wasn't thick enough to be halved, it worked just fine as a thick one layer. And the figures are just so fun! I didn't much plan how I placed them on the sheet of dough and that's why the end result is so haphazard, but I learned from this experience too and next time I will place the figures in even lines and cut them into squares with a e.g. pizza cutter so that it's easy just to break up the bread into pieces. I made some slight alterations with the recipe itself. There wasn't a mention about what flour to use, so I used one third of wholewheat flour, second third was medium-coarse wheat flour and the last part was a ready-made flour mixture for making rolls. When flattening the dough on the baking sheet, instead of using more flour, I oiled my hands and flattened it like that. I though it gave the bread some extra crispness as well.

Bread made easy and fast

500ml / 2.1 cups water
4 dl / 13.5 oz oatmeal
1 bag (á 11 g) dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbls sugar
50 ml oil
6 dl / ca 20 oz flour

Mix the oatmeal and dry yeast in the warm (42 C / 100 F) water. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix smooth. Pour on a baking sheet and flatten the dough as an even layer. Let rise for 30 minutes. Cut into squares (and cut the figures as well, if you will). Bake in the middle level in 225 C / 440 F for 15 minutes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New measuring cup set!

Here it is, my new measuring cup set! Isn't it wonderfully green! They even have little spouts!

I like it from all angles! I'm thoroughly in love with this set! It includes four parts: 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, ½ cup and 1 cup. I really like having this, because it makes it so much easier to make American recipes. As the European and Finnish way is to use the metric system, i.e. liters and their parts, like deciliters and milliliters etc, practically all my measuring cups are for measuring metric measurements. I have two bigger measuring cups, that hold 500 ml all in all that have cup measurements on them as well, but having only a couple of big ones is a bit difficult when I need to use cup measures more then once while making something. It means that with liquids I have to wash the measuring cups to be able to use them again, even though I might need it just to measure 1/4 cup. This new set means that I can let the dishwasher do the washing, like it should be in the first place.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oatmeal thins

The most exceptional thing (not!) happened one evening: I started to crave for something yummy. But as I was having a bit of a flu and felt tired AND was pretty low on some of my ingredients (no chocolate at home, yikes!), I didn't want to to anything very complicated, just a quick bite of something good. I scanned some of my trusted sites on the internet and came across a recipe for low-fat oatmeal thins. Indeed, filled the spot in me that needed to be filled and to top it all, they were easy, quick, addicting, low in fat and from ingredients I have at hand practically at all times. The recipe in Finnish is to be found here.

They had something to be noted, though, and these I will tell you first.
  • The batter needs only a quick stir.
  • You should start taking dabs of the batter on the baking sheet right after mixing everything together. The oatmeals should take as little of the liquid in as possible, not swell.
  • The dabs should be fairly far from another, the thins will be (surprisingly!) thin and wide, if the batter has not swelled, and if they are too close together on the baking sheet, you'll end up with one big biscuit.
  • You can spray or brush the baking paper lightly with some oil, so the thins won't stick. Do this preferably already before making the batter.
  • Be careful, when baking. The thins burn easily.

Makes about 30 thins.

3 dl / ca. 1.2 cups oatmeals
½ dl /  ca. 1.6 oz flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 dl / ca 0.5 cup sugar
1 egg
100 ml / 0.4 cups orange juice or milk

Mix together the dry ingredients, add the egg and juice/milk, mix smooth quickly. Right after take small dabs of the batter on to the baking sheet well apart from one another. Bake in 225 C / 440 F on the middle or next to top rack for 5-7 minutes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Last week I met a few friends from the university in order to have an early dinner. We chose Restaurant Sohwi to be the place. It is located just next to the part of campus where us humanists mostly spend our time. None of us had eaten there before and two not even been there. But as Sohwi has a reputation as students' place, we thought it proper to fill our student duty and dine there.
First of us preferred Smoked Whitefish Pasta over all others from the menu. She said she liked her meal, but would have wanted her fish in larger pieces instead of them dissolving in the sauce.

Another of us chose Chicken Sandwich with a Salad and fries on the side. It also received positive comments. Although it came as a surprise that the citrus syrup, as the sauce of the salad, was indeed syrup, that is sweet, which is something one does not think when one thinks about citrus.

I bravely ordered Giant Burger. The meal was tasty and very fulfilling. The fries wanted a bit more salt, but luckily there was a salt shaker on the table.

The service was somewhat sluggish and brief, which was a thing I would've wanted to change there. Otherwise, it was a pleasant meal and the food was tasty and simple in a good way. I'm not yet sure, if the place impressed me enough to be going there again. That remains to be seen.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

American Dinner

Today I hosted my first dinner party. On a small scale and not a very sophisticated one, though, but you gotta start somewhere, right? Nevertheless, I am feeling a sense of satisfaction, pride and delight that is hard to describe in words, which is very unusual to me. As the aftermath for the evening I am having a warm feeling and am tempted to smile, whenever thinking back how smoothly and perfectly everything went.

A friend couple was invited over for a dinner and a movie (thanks for the company and the visit by the way, we enjoyed having you here a lot!) and to unwind myself from the exam of yesterday (who decided that exam dates ought to be on Saturdays anyway?) I planned and executed an American themed dinner for four with the priceless help of my DH. He helped me through every step of the way, from planning the scheduling of the different dishes and then in prepping, chopping and the actual cooking and baking. How wonderful is he! How lucky am I!

To make it all just a little bit more special I printed out a menu card:
Even looking at the card makes me smile again. Sigh. A little dream come true. And little dreams are just as important as the big ones, right?

Like you can read, for main course we had Sloppy Joes and Coleslaw (recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes, the coleslaw one slightly modified), with Fresh Lemonade by Food Network that you can see a little bit in the glass and jug beneath. The hamburger buns are made with the previously posted recipe.

And for dessert I made Rocky Road Brownies (which I've been dying to make for a while now and I took the opportunity with pleasure and enthusiasm) and followed the recipe by Deborah in Taste and Tell. Messy, but oh so gooey and yummy! A perfect ending to my first dinner party, in my opinion.
Everything turned out very well, even though all of the recipes were ones I had never tried out before. But this definitely was not the first and last time I will make these dishes, as they tasted so good! After eating our tummies full, we continued the evening by watching the movie Up which was sweet and touching, I liked it very much. It isn't too often that an animated film makes you think about things and that's what I liked about it.

After a wonderful, wonderful evening with friends and food I am ready to start the new week with fresh energy.

A little dream come true can sure give one big boost to life.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Jamie's Italian

I'm terribly late with this story considering that the visit I am telling about took place in last November. The blog all in all has suffered from my intense work load during the winter. But because I started it mainly for my own amusement and pleasure to begin with, I'm not going to feel guilty about not having time to post as often as I would like. I trust that once my life calms down a bit, it will show as a more active blog as well.

Anyway, last November my husband and I spent a week in Great Britain. Our time was spent mainly in London and during that time we pampered ourselves in the culinary field by dining in the Canary Wharf installment of Jamie's Italian restaurant chain. 

Picture from

It was a very pleasant visit. The restaurant was cozy but still afforded a certain Wow factor.

Service and food was excellent and the surroundings of the restaurant were pleasant as well, the modern district of Canary Wharf with its tall, glassy buildings was a refreshing and surprising change coming above ground after traveling on the Tube from the more traditional parts of London.

Picture from


 The menu was appealing as well and prices affordable for a couple like us, of which the other half is still a student. We both had Jamie's 'flash steak' as a main 

and divided ultimate chocolate raspberry and Amaretto brownie with bourbon vanilla ice cream

and Tuscan chocolate and hazelnut cake served with seasonal fruits for the dessert. 

Everything was very tasty and we left the place our tummies full and perfectly satisfied. We can warmly recommend the restaurant and will definitely go dine there again, if and hopefully when going back to London.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New York Cheesecake

Here it is... my first cheesecake!

The recipe is from a Finnish blog called Suolaa&Pippuria (Salt & Pepper). It tasted absolutely heavenly! I didn't serve a berry sauce with it, like the blog writer suggested, because having to transport the still warm cake to a friends' flat, where it was eaten in a get-together, was challenging enough. But the cake was just divine even without it! Soft and full-flavored. There wasn't enough biscuit crust, as I used gluten-free biscuits that usually are sold in smaller packages than normal ones, but it didn't make much of a difference.

1 package digestive biscuits
2 tbs butter
2 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs water

600 grams of fresh cheese
400 ml créme fraiche
7 eggs
100 ml (0.4 cups) sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1tbs vanilla sugar

Heat the oven into 150 C/300F. Crush the biscuits in a blender and add melted butter, water and cinnamon. Spread on the bottom and on the sides of a springform cake pan. Beat the cheese soft in a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer). Add créme fraiche and mix well. Add the eggs one by one and mix well in between. In the end add the lemon juice and zest, sugar and vanilla sugar. Pour on top of the crust and bake for 40-50 minutes or until firm. I let it bake for over an hour.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Strawberry cake with gelatin

First of all, I so apologize for the unforgivable silence. What can I say? I just seemed to need a break. Anyway, I mean to be publishing some recipes in the near future, that have been waiting to be published a long time. And I will probably publish all of them in English. I'm not yet sure, will all my future postings be only in English, but these most probably will. If you have any comments or suggestions to make as to what kind of blog you hope this to be, or to the language it shall be written in, feel free to leave a comment!

This cake I made for a wonderful get-together with friends in August. The recipe is from a Finnish site Pirkka. On top of the cake I have raspberries, I had not looked at the recipe carefully enough before shopping for ingredients and took only a liter of fresh strawberries, which went into the filling. I had some fresh raspberries however and thus I decorated the top of the cake with them.

16-20 servings


2 eggs
100 ml / a bit over 4 cups sugar
3 tbs boiling water
3/4 dl / 2.5 oz flour
2 tbs potato flour
3 tbs cacao powder
½ tsp baking powder

50 ml juice, for example blackcurrant

1000 ml fresh strawberries (or 500 g defrosted strawberries)
100 ml / ca. 0.4 cups sugar
300 ml double cream
250 g milk curd
3 tsp vanilla sugar
2-3 tbs lemon juice

On top:
ca. 50 ml strawberry jam
100 ml fresh strawberries
150 ml blackcurrant juice
100 ml / ca 0.4 cups gelatin/jelly sugar

1. Heat up the oven to 200 C / 390 F. Grease a pringform cake pan (about 24 cm / 9.5 inches in diameter) and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Measure the flour, cocoa powder, potato flour and baking powder and stir together. Boil the water. Beat the eggs and sugar into a thick light foam. Add the boiling water into the egg foam little by little, stirring the whole time. Sieve the flour mixture into the foam in a few patches. Mix on the lowest speed of the mixer. Pour the matter into the pan. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 11-13 minutes. The cake is done, when it comes off from the sides of the pan.

2. Let the cake cool for a moment and take it off the pan and let cool on a rack. Wash the pan and cut pieces from baking paper in order to line the pan. Cut the cooled cake into two same sized round pieces and lay the bottom part on the bottom of the pan. Moisturize the cake with the juice.

3. Slice the fresh strawberries for the filling. Sprinkle half the sugar on top of them. Let the leaf gelatins soak in cols water for at least 10 minutes. Whisk the cream, add vanilla sugar and put in the fridge to wait. Mix together the milk curd, strawberries and the rest of the sugar. Heat up the lemon juice in a small saucepan. Add the dry squeezed leaf gelatins into the juice and let dissolve. Let the mixture cool down a bit and add into the milk curd-strawberry mix and stir well. Add the whisked cream in and mix well. Pour the mixture into the pan. Place the other half of the cake on top and let set over night in cold.

4. Take the rim of the cake pan away as well as the baking paper piece lining it. Spread a thin layer of strawberry jam on top of the cake. Cover the top with sliced strawberries. Prepare the jelly according to the instructions in the package. Spoon it over the strawberries first little and then as a thicker layer. Let the cake set in a cool place for a little while. Serve.

Related Posts with Thumbnails