Balsamic red onion mix – Balsamico punasipuliherkku

KuvaI love to add some small side dishes or gourmet to every meal to make an everyday food a bit different. I enjoy eating salads and my latest favourite has been smoked salmon salad -of course-I am in the land of salmon after all. You probably cannot even believe it but for example at the moment salmon is only 7.99e/kg!!! My signature salad includes smoked salmon (bbq smoked salmon I mean), avocado, rock melon, salad, salted cashews (occasionally dry cranberries) and this lovely balsamic red onion mix on top. My mum made this absolutely gorgeous red onion mix and I had to ask the recipe as it was so tasty. I have made it myself before but I have not let it rest for a day in the fridge. By letting the onions sit in the fridge makes them softer and sweeter. You can find the easy recipe below.

In general I have to say I have enjoyed my holiday in Finland fully. In the beginning of the holiday I was eating forest blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, now the season of black and red currants has started. This week every morning I have gone to my parents’ backyard and eaten blackcurrants straight from the bush. Oh how lovely and sweet they taste when being freshly picked and they are so healthy too only a handful of them contains the required amount of vitamin C for the day!!!!

Anyway enjoy this easy, quick and tasty red onion mix in your own summer salads.

2 red onions

2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1/2tsp black pepper

1-2 tbs red balsamic

1 tbs olive oil

1. Mix together thinly sliced red onions, salt, sugar, black pepper and red balsamic, wait for 5 min.

2. Add the olive oil into the mix and put it to the fridge to sit for 24h.

3. Enjoy in salads or in sandwiches!

photo (22)

Avocado Cottage Cheese Salad

Image

My small baby girl and I travelled to Finland over the weekend for five days. The trip was fantastic, she slept well in the clean and fresh Nordic air and I believe she also loved cute cats and dog that are running around my parents’ house. Older one of the dogs worked as a perfect baby monitor as when the baby cried the older poodle lady ran as fast as she could to see if everything was ok!

Anyway, during the Finland trip my mum introduced this tasty and strange sounding salad to me. You mix mashed avocado, cottage cheese and black pepper together and it is ready to be served. Yummy! This recipe is very typical of my mum. It has been always very important for her to make healthy food. I remember that during my childhood we didn’t really eat lollies mainly home cooked desserts  and those were usually Finnish pulla, fruit salad or some fruit tarts..sometimes a home made chocolate cake, but that was for some real occasion. We never ate ready meals, everything was home made from scratch. Mum didn’t even use any pre-made sauces or flavourings. We didn’t eat hamburgers or pizzas -only when dad was in babysitting turn :)- and that is why I probably ended up being a 28-year old and never ever having tasted KFC or Burger King until last year!

Of course as a child I was often disappointed that other kids were eating lots of ice cream and lollies and we hardly ever had ice cream in the freezer or lollies in the cupboards. These days I am, however, so thankful that my mum passed these healthy eating habits to me. I think she taught me to appreciate good food, fresh ingredients and seasonal cooking. I hope I managed to pass these important things to my own daughter too.

So here is the avocado cottage cheese salad recipe. It is too simple to be so tasty and it works perfectly as a quick lunch (as I happen to have these days). It is also good for people who do running or jogging as cottage cheese has a high protein content. This will be my sporty lunch when I start running again 🙂

1 avocado (mashed), make sure it is nicely ripe

1dl cottage cheese (can put less if you prefer more avocado flavour)

sprinkle of blackpepper

If you prepare this in England I would suggest to add a tiny bit of salt as English cottage cheese is mainly sour but not salty. If you prepare this in Finland I recommend to use Arla’s cottage cheese it is amazing and so far creates the best combination of flavours together with avocado!!!!!

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!

Walnutty Blue Cheese Salad for Midsummer Feast

We celebrated the Finnish midsummer -the nightless night – at our summer cottage this year like every year. It rained all night long, like usually in Finland during the midsummer night. The next day was as sunny as it could be. Can’t understand the unlucky midsummer weather, but at least we had a lot of good food to eat and nice wines to drink!

I was respronsible for the dinner menu with my dear Aussie man. Like usually he cooked the meat, I prepared the salads…If you let my Aussie man decide he would serve only different types of meat with different marinades, so I have to be strict every now and then and try to add some healthy fresh salads on the menu. I love salads, but the secret is to make them as tasty as possible, so that you don’t think whilst eating ”why everything healthy tastes always so bad?”. So here is one of the tasty salads we served. On the side of different salads my Aussie man served a selection of perfectly marinated ribs -yummy! Even my almost 90 year old grandparents loved them and were sucking every piece of meat around them!

green salad (for example Frisée or Pollo Rosso)

100g walnuts

150g blue cheese

white salad dressing (in Finland for exmple X-tra salad dressing is very tasty and budgety option)

1. Crush the walnuts. Cut the blue cheese into the small cubes.

2. Set the salad on the bottom of the salad bowl, sprinkle blue cheese cubes on the salad and crushed walnuts on the top of that. Pour the dressing into the salad and ENJOY!

Fawlty Towers Walfdorf Salad

Anyone who has ever watched a lovely British TV-series called Fawlty Towers will remember the episode called Waldorf Salad. In this episode a fancy American comes to stay in the hotel and Basil seems to blow everything -like usually-. When eating in the hotel restaurant this American snob wants to have Waldorf salad, nothing else suits for him than this particular salad. He comes from New York and there ”one can find it anywhere”. But Basil is silly and not aware of this American side dish and keeps on asking: ”What is a Waldorf anyway, a walnut that’s gone off?”

Whilst being only an entertaining British sitcom this Fawlty Towers episode includes a small piece of history anyway. Waldorf salad is a legendary salad created between 1893 and 1896 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City. The American is right, in New York you can find it anywhere since the end of 19th century. It landed a bit later in Europe.

Encouraged by this hilarious Fawlty Towers episode I had to try this famous salad. I made it last summer when our American friend was visiting us from New York. I thought it would be a funny thing to do. There are different variations of this salad, but the main ingerdients stay the same. I searched for the recipes and one that seemed to look good to me I tested. This salad is an extremely nice side dish for BBQ. We ate it at the summer cottage and liked it. It tastes quite mayonnaisy, even though it isn’t. Actually it is a very refreshing salad because of pineapples and youghurt. Maybe try it next time when having some BBQ?

Four portions:

1 celeriac ( in some recipes you find sliced celeri sticks)

2 apples

4 tbs cream

3 tbs mayonnaise

4 tbs youghurt

2 tbs lemon juice

4 tbs walnuts

1 dl pineapple slices

salt, white pepper, sugar

1. Combine cream, mayonnaise, yoghurt and lemon juice.

2. Cut the apple into small cubes and grate the celeriac.

3. Mix apple, grated celeri, pineapples and walnuts together. Add the mayonnaise mixture in it. Spice the salad with salt and pepper. Finish the taste with some sugar.

Serve it with a good steak!  You can get some variation in flavour by using celeri instead of celeriac!