Eggplant dip -Munakoiso dippi

ImageYesterday I prepared some very tasty eggplant dip to go on top of the bread..or should I say on top of the ricecakes and buckwheat crispy breads that I am eating these days. For you I, however, recommend to eat this dip with freshly baked baguette or pita bread, It is slightly middle eastern style and that is why I like it. This dip would be perfect an ideal small nibble with friends before the actual dinner. It is super simple and quick to make too.

1 eggplant

1 onion

1 red capsicum

2 garlic cloves

50ml (1/2dl) olive oil

salt (I added half a teaspoon)

1. Cut the greenies to small cubes and cook them in the oven in 200 celsius degrees until nicely soft and brown.

2. Let them cool. Puree the vegetables and add olive oil and salt.

3. Store in the fridge to make the dip cold before serving.

Super tasty!!!

Kalamata Olive Focaccia

WP_000111We had a house warming BBQ last weekend to celebrate our new home. It was rather crazy as this point almost everyone has a kid or two so it was probably the same number of adults and kids, some newborns some toddlers. The funniest thing was that in the middle of the BBQ cooking it started suddenly rain rather heavily. As a result some of the meat burnt and some was uncooked -well bad luck! I made so many things for this BBQ  party and I will post the recipes here one after another. I baked home made focaccia, prepared some couscous salad, feta butternut squash salad and French strawberry tart. All of the recipes will be available soon. The first one I wanted to share with you was this home made focaccia. It was really tasty and in fact the first focaccia I have ever made. It turned out to be very tasty though.

4dl water (400ml)

50g fresh yeast or 1 pack of dry yeast (you need 1 1/2 pack of English dry yeast as it is only 7g per pack)

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

7.5dl plain flour (750ml)

4 tbs olive oil

Topping:

handful of kalamata olived (pitted) chopped

4 tbs olive oil

rock salt

fresh thyme chopped

1. Heat up the water (37 celsius degrees if fresh yeast, 40 celsius degrees if dry yeast). Mix sugar and salt and a bit flour (approximately tablespoon).

2. Add half of the flour and olive oil. Mix well and add rest of the flour. The dough is supposed to be quite runny. Cover the bowl and let it rise for half an hour.

3. Oil the baking dish 20cm x 30cm. Pour the dough into the baking dish and rise half an hour. Drizzle olive oil on top.

4. After the dough has risen add the kalamata olives and rock salt.

5. Cook in the oven in 225 celsius degrees for 25-30min.

Bacon or Vege quiche

ImageI arranged a baby clothing party at our new house a while ago. I prepared something sweet and something savoury. These were the two quiches I made. They turned out to be very delicious so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. The vegetarian one was particularly good.

1 1/2 dl milk

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

4 1/4dl plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

50g butter

1. Mix milk and egg.

2. Combine dry ingredients.

3. Combine milk-egg mixture with dry ingredients.

4. Add melted butter. Form the base in the quiche tin.

Filling 1:

1 pack of bacon (rashers)

1 onion

1 capsicum

3 eggs

150g grated cheese (nice British Cheddar)

3dl (300ml) cream

black pepper, pepper, fresh thyme

1. Cook bacon and onions so that they turn to golden brown.

2.  Mix filling ingredients all together and pour on the base.

Filling 2:

1 pack of small cherry or plum tomatoes

big bunch of basil chopped

150g cheese (nice British cheddar)

3 eggs

3dl (300ml) cream

black pepper, dry basil

1. Lay cherry tomato halves on the base.

2. Combine all cheese, eggs, cream, basil and spices and pour on the tomatoes.

Both of the quiches are cooked in the oven in 200 celsius degrees for 30-40min.

ENJOY!

Kisir -Tabouleh’s Friend

My Aussie husband and I went to an amazing Lebanese restaurant called Haz during our lunch break. They had a great lunch deal on so we ordered that. I had Kisir and vegetable moussaka and my husband ordered hummus and lamb tagine. Both dishes were tasty, in fact Kisir was so tasty that I got an inspiration to find a recipe and try to make one of my own. I made it last night and it turned out to be pretty nice and refreshing. Next time I would add mint in the recipe as I am a big fan of mint. I would also add some olive oil and garlic to the original recipe so below you find the tweaked version of the recipe.

4dl (2 cups) bulghur wheat (fine or medium grade)
1/2 bunch spring onions, chopped
1/2 cucumber chopped
1 tbs fresh dill chopped
2 tbs parsley chopped
(1 tbs mint finely chopped)
1/2 clove of garlic pressed
juice from 1 lemon
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red capsicum/pepper
3 tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2tsp paprika

1. Cook the bulghur in a boiling water until soft.
2. Chop all the greenies, combine the ingredients together and mix well. In the end add the bulghur.
3. Try the flavour and add some spices if needed.
4. Put it to the fridge to cool and serve when nice and chilled.

Finnish Potato Salad

What would a BBQ be without a home made potato salad? In Finland potato salad is a traditional dish at New Years or at summer time. We eat it usually with small sausages that we call ”prince sausages”. Our potato salad is quite sweet, but not too fatty. It is not only mayonnaise based but has a yoghurt type of flavour in it. The secret of a good potato salad is simplicity and of course Scandinavian sweet pickled gherkins that we call ”sandwich gherkins”. If you live in London, you can find these amazing sandwich gherkins (smörgåsgurka) at the Scandinavian kitchen on Great Tichfield Street. If you cannot find them you can use regular gherkins but then you may need to add a bit sugar to your potato salad to get the same sweet flavour.

The other night when our friends from Australia were visiting us we had a lovely BBQ at our backyard and of course I made Finnish potato salad. I have to admit I mixed the ingredients together without any measurements but I can estimate the amount of everything and here you can find the recipe. It is the most basic potato salad recipe, but I guess that is why it works. Everything got eaten in a blink of an eye!

5 cooked potatoes chopped into small cubes
100-150g Scandinavian sandwich gherkins (sweet pickled cucumber)
4 tbs natural yoghurt (not low fat!)
3tbs Hellmann’s  mayonnaise (light version)
half and onion chopped finely
1 tsp mustard (optional if you have a lot of mustard seeds in your gherkins you may not want to add mustard flavour)
half tsp salt
black pepper

Mix the ingredients together and enjoy the refreshing salad!

Minty Potato Salad

I was visiting one of my best friends yesterday. Whilst I was sitting in her dream kitchen, she served me something that tasted like Finland and summer at the same time -home made potato salad. When I was driving back home I couldn’t get the idea (or the lovely taste) of potato salad out of my mind. I had already decided to serve some smoked salmon for dinner so I thought potato salad wouldn’t be a bad idea to serve with it, actually it sounded quite good.

My dear Aussie man always makes fun of my grocery shopping. I probably don’t have to even mention that I LOVE SHOPPING FOOD and I do it almost every day. I enjoy it and it is my way to relax. I also change my mind so quickly what comes to food that I can’t decide beforehand what I cook on the next day or if I try I end up cooking something else anyway. The day before my dear Aussie man was  laughing at me at the store and suggesting if we could try not to do shopping on the following day. I agreed, but as soon as I got the idea of smoked salmon and potato salad into my mind that agreement was gone.

Here you can find my recipe for potato salad. It is made of Finnish new summer potatoes which have an extremely sweet and irresistably fresh flavour. We always leave the skin for new summer potatoes which even adds the nice flavour in them. I think the secret of potato salad is to make it taste creamy and fresh at the same time. To create a fresh summer taste I spiced the salad with mint. To make it sweeter I used honey and whole grain mustard too. I definitely liked the combination. After eating smoked salmon with this potato salad my dear Aussie man didn’t care that we did an additional food shopping trip a few hours before, he loved this salad!

1kg fresh small potatoes

2 small sweet onions

2 gherkins

1 apple (Golden of Granny Smith or green apple anyway)

2-3 tbs mayonnaise (home made is the best choice, Hellmann’s mayonnaise is good too)

1 dl sour cream (can be light one)

1/2 tsp mint ( you can add more if you like the flavour of mint)

3 tsp whole grain mustard

1/2-1  tsp salt

1 tsp honey

1 tsp sugar

pinch of black pepper

1. Wash the potatoes (you don’t have to peel them if they are fresh new summer potatoes), cover them with water and boil for 15 minutes until they get soft. Keep an eye on them because you don’t want them to get too soft.

2. Cut the onions, gherkins and the apple into small cubes.

3. When the potatoes are ready, rinse them in cold water and cut into small cubes. Combine them with the onion, grerkin and apple cubes. Add the mayonaise and mix well. Add the sour cream and mix well again.

4. Add the mint, mustard, salt, honey and sugar and finish the taste with a pinch of black pepper.

Enjoy with fish or bbq sausages! YUMMY!

Sunny Parsnip Carrot Purée

This parsnip carrot  purée is the purée recipe I invented when I felt like cooking white fish and spinach sauce and I wanted to have some sweet tasting purée to go with them. The purée turned out to be bright orange and next to it there were creamy spinach sauce and plaice fillets. My dear Aussie man called that dinner ”space food” because the plate was so colourful. He also noted that not a ”real chef” would ever set so contrasting colours -green and orange- next to each others. I bursted out that because I am not, I have no responsabilites to think about the colours on the plate. The taste combination was however amazing! I warmly recommend this kind fo plate for everyone. It is healthy too and tastes like summer.

Parsnip Carrot Purée

500g carrots

200g parsnip

25g butter

2-3 tbs full cream

1/2 tsp salt

1. Peel the carrots and parsnip(s) and cut them into even size of cubes to cook them. Cook the cubes under the water (so that water hardly covers the vegetables) for 10-15 minutes until they are soft.

2. Purée them, add the butter and the cream. Spice it with a pinch of salt. The purée is simple but heavenly! Serve it with the creamy mushroom, chantarelle or spinach sauce and some white fish.

Champagne Saffron Risotto

It was my birthday and my dear Aussie man told me that I could ask him to cook whatever I wanted. It didn’t take more than a few seconds and I repiled simply ”Honey Sesame Scallops”. He promised to cook them and I tried hard to think what would go well with scallops and after a long search and comparison of different recipes I decided that it would be a champagne risotto. Here is my own recipe for that. A budget option is to use sparkling wine and no one would notice that. This risotto is an amazing combination with scallops or some white fish!

2 tbs butter

1 onion

2dl champagne/sparkling wine

2 dl Arborio rice

5 dl chicken broth

parmesan cheese

pinch of saffron

black pepper

1. Cut and cook the onion. Add the rice and cook for a while.

2. Add the champagne and let it boil. Cook as long as the rice has absorbed all the water.

3. Add chicken broth 1 dl at once and let the rice absorb the liquid. It takes approximately 15-20 minutes.

4. When the risotto starts to be ready grate some parmesan cheese in it according to your own taste.

5. Add a pich of saffron so that the risotto gets nice golden colour. In the end add some black pepper to finish the taste.

ENJOY!

Tempting Tabbouleh

4 dl cooked coucous/bulgar

5 tomatos

1 red onion

1 dl fresh parsley

2 tbs fresh mint

2 tbs fresh coriander

1 red capsicum

1 red chili/chilipowder/chili sauce

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 pressed lemon

salt and blackpepper

1. Cook the couscous.

2.Cut all the ingredients into small fine cubes. Chop all the fresh spices.

3. Mix everything together and spice it in the end.

4. Tzatziki goes extremely well with this tempting tabbouleh and falafels!

Jerusalem Artichoke Purée

We had a fancy dinner night with the girls and we created the whole 4 course menu for ourselves again. This amazing mousse was something that crowned the mouthwatering main course that was goat cheese stuffed guinea fowl filets wrapped in bacon. The taste of guinea fowl is more gamy than basic chicken and it goes so well with the smoky tasting Jerusalem artichoke. This combination is part of my menu suggestions including selection of wines. Try it and you won’t regret!

500g Jerusalem artichokes

1/2 lemon pressed

1/2 dl canola oil

2 egg yolk

1 1/2 dl Turkish yoghurt ( 10% fat)

salt

1. Boil the artichokes in the water where half of lemon has been pressed in. Cook them until they are soft.

2. Purée the artichokes. Add half of desilitre of oil and mix well. Then add the egg yolks and in the end add the Turkish yoghurt and mix well.

3. Spice it with a pinch of salt.

4. Serve it with chicken or guinea fowl and nice white wine!